Taiwan’s strug­gle

The Korea Times - - OPINION - By Hu Young-sup Hu Young-sup is a colum­nist. Con­tact him at gra­[email protected]

The United Na­tions will open the 74th Gen­eral Assem­bly at its New York head­quar­ters in late Septem­ber. Some coun­tries badly want to at­tend the con­fer­ence but can­not do so. One of them is Taiwan.

Nearly half a cen­tury — more pre­cisely 48 years — has passed since Taiwan was evicted from the U.N. Taiwan, for­mally the Repub­lic of China, was a found­ing mem­ber of the largest and most im­por­tant in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion in 1945 af­ter the end of WWII. The is­land coun­try, how­ever, be­gan to face diplo­matic dif­fi­cul­ties from the late 1960s along with the rise of main­land China. In 1971, Taiwan was ex­pelled from the global body.

Since then, the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China has been sup­plant­ing the role of Taiwan as the sole and le­git­i­mate en­tity that can use the name China ex­ter­nally. This re­flects com­pli­cated in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics sur­round­ing China and Taiwan, and the cru­cial ques­tion is whether Taiwan is in­de­pen­dent of or de­pen­dent on China, over which the two coun­tries still in con­flict with each other.

Now, Taiwan is mak­ing stren­u­ous ef­forts to rejoin the U.N. by par­tic­i­pat­ing in af­fil­i­ated agen­cies’ ac­tiv­i­ties. Var­i­ous re­stric­tions on the in­ter­na­tional stage have forced the Tai­wanese govern­ment and its peo­ple to feel the need to rejoin the world body.

Cur­rently, not only govern­ment of­fi­cials but also jour­nal­ists from Taiwan are not given the ac­cess to U.N. fa­cil­i­ties with­out spe­cial per­mis­sion be­cause Taiwan is not rec­og­nized as a sov­er­eign na­tion un­der the “One China” prin­ci­ple put forth by Bei­jing. Taiwan has used all means avail­able to it to re­store its U.N. mem­ber­ship, even ap­ply­ing with the name of Taiwan, not ROC.

How­ever, the re­sult has not been sat­is­fac­tory. The ob­sta­cle named “One China” prin­ci­ple is too high for Taiwan to sur­mount it. Even its ob­server sta­tus that al­lows Taipei to par­tic­i­pate in the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion was re­moved in May.

This was due mainly to Taiwan’s re­fusal to ac­cept the One China formula. Most of the Tai­wanese peo­ple think they are dif­fer­ent from Chi­nese in his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural ori­gins. That, in turn, ex­plains why Taiwan is try­ing so hard to join the U.N. again as a sov­er­eign na­tion.

As a round­about way, the Tai­wanese govern­ment is fo­cus­ing its ef­forts on join­ing var­i­ous U.N. af­fil­i­ates, in­clud­ing Interpol and the In­ter­na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ICAO). Even that is not prov­ing easy, how­ever. In the case of the ICAO, for ex­am­ple, Taiwan had been an of­fi­cial mem­ber but was ex­cluded from the avi­a­tion-safety or­ga­ni­za­tion fol­low­ing its evic­tion from the U.N. Taiwan as­serts po­ten­tial safety risks stem­ming from the re­stric­tion of avi­a­tion in­for­ma­tion but is find­ing it dif­fi­cult to per­suade the ex­ist­ing mem­ber coun­tries.

The Tai­wanese govern­ment and its 23 mil­lion peo­ple say that Taiwan is an es­sen­tial part­ner for the global com­mu­nity.

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