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Sixty-first Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations Request for the inclusion of a supplementary item in the agenda of
the sixty-first session
Question of the representation and participation of the 23 million
people of Taiwan in the United Nations Letter dated XXX from the representatives of XXX to the United
Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
Upon the instruction of our respective Governments, we have the
honor to request, pursuant to rule 14 of the rules of procedure of the
General Assembly, the inclusion in the agenda of the sixty-first session of
a supplementary item entitled “Question of the representation and
participation of the 23 million people of Taiwan in the United Nations”.
Pursuant to rule 20 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly, we
attach an explanatory memorandum (annex I) and a draft resolution
The Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as Taiwan) is a free
and peace-loving sovereign state, and its democratically elected
Government is the sole legitimate government that can represent the
interests and wishes of the people of Taiwan in the United Nations.
However, the rights and interests of the 23 million people of Taiwan,
which is excluded from the United Nations, are not upheld and protected
by the United Nations. Today, for the following reasons, there is an
urgent need to further examine this particular situation and to redress this
mistaken omission. 1. Universality is a core principle of the United Nations
The Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations states that the
mission of the United Nations is “to reaffirm faith in the fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women, and of nations, large and small.”
This commitment to the principle of universality, for all peoples and
all nations, is at the center of the international system established by the founding fathers of the United Nations in 1945. Furthermore, Article 4 of the Charter invites “all other peace-loving states” to join the Organization.
Since the end of the Cold War and with the advent of globalization,
the work of the United Nations has become increasingly important, and the realization of the principle of universality has taken on a new urgency. With the admission of East Timor, Switzerland and Montenegro, almost all the countries of the world have become members of this ever more truly global Organization – all except one, Taiwan. After all that the United Nations has achieved towards realizing the principle of universality, the complete exclusion of Taiwan from the United Nations poses a moral and legal challenge to the international community. The United Nations must cease senselessly enforcing a policy of political apartheid against the 23 million people of Taiwan.
2. General Assembly resolution 2758 (XXVI) has not resolved the
issue of the representation of the people of Taiwan
From 1949 to 1971, the question of the representation of China in
the United Nations had been continuously disputed. The General Assembly of the United Nations finally adopted resolution 2758 (XXVI) on October 25, 1971, which admitted the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations. This resolution, however, did not address the issue of the representation and participation of the 23 million people of Taiwan in the United Nations. Unfortunately, resolution 2758 (XXVI) has subsequently been misused to justify Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations system. With a view to examining its falsehood, the pivot statement of the aforesaid resolution reads as follows:
Decides to restore all its rights to the People’s Republic of
China and to recognize the representatives of its Government as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations, and to expel forthwith the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek from the place which they unlawfully occupy at the United Nations and in all the organizations related to it.
It should be noted especially that resolution 2758 (XXVI) addressed
only the issue of the representation of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations and all related organizations. It did not determine that Taiwan is a part of the People’s Republic of China, nor did it confer on the People’s Republic of China the right to represent Taiwan or the people of Taiwan in the United Nations and its related organizations. Taiwan has no intention of competing with the People’s Republic of China for the so-called “Representation of China”. Taiwan has transformed into a full-fledged modern democracy after a series of political reforms, further illustrating that this resolution does not reflect the objective reality that both sides of the Taiwan Strait have separate ruling governments and are not subject to each other’s jurisdiction. It also does not reflect the depth of democracy developed by the people of Taiwan. The United Nations should look squarely at the fact that it is regrettable that this resolution also does not safeguard the legal rights of the 23 million people of Taiwan to participate in the United Nations.
3. Taiwan is a sovereign state and a constructive member of the
With a population of 23 million, making it the 47th largest
population in the world, and a territory consisting of the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, Taiwan enjoys an efficient government and solid institutions that have proven their capacity to conduct friendly and constructive international relations with many States throughout the world. For example, Taiwan maintains full diplomatic relations with the Holy See and 23 Member States of the United Nations. Taiwan has set up more than 120 embassies, consulate generals, representative offices or offices around the world, fully demonstrating that Taiwan is a sovereign country. Moreover, through its full membership, Taiwan plays an active role in several international organizations, including the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
Taiwan has never been a local government or province of the
People’s Republic of China. On the contrary, ever since the establishment
of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949, the two sides of
the Taiwan Strait have been governed separately, with neither side having
any control or jurisdiction over the other. The fact that international
visitors to Taiwan apply for visas at Taiwan’s representative institutions,
and that China’s diplomatic missions cannot provide any visa assistance
whatsoever, is an obvious example. 4.
Taiwan is a vibrant democratic society and an active
In his report entitled: “In larger freedom: towards development,
security and human rights for all”, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan pointed out correctly, “The right to choose how they are ruled, and who rules them, must be the birthright of all people, and its universal achievement must be a central objective of an Organization devoted to the cause of larger freedom.” Accordingly, the international community should respect public opinion in Taiwan. Taiwan’s achievements in
deepening democracy are worthy of the active support of the United Nations.
Following the end of four decades of authoritarian rule in Taiwan in
1987, the profound constitutional reforms undertaken made it possible for Taiwan to hold its very first general parliamentary elections in 1992, followed by the first direct presidential election in 1996. In 2000, the second presidential election paved the way to the first peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another. The third direct presidential election of 2004 further demonstrates Taiwan’s commitment to genuine democratization.
Taiwan has succeeded in the transition to democracy and in
unrelenting efforts to promote human rights. In his inaugural speech in 2000, President Chen Shui-bian emphasized the importance of democracy and peace for the people of Taiwan: “With our sacred votes, we have proved to the world that freedom and democracy are indisputable universal values, and that peace is the highest goal of humanity.” In his inaugural speech in 2004, he reiterated Taiwan’s firm belief and determination: “Taiwan stands ready to continue in its role as an active participant and contributor to international society – this is the right of Taiwan’s 23 million people; likewise, it is our duty as citizens of the world community.”
In recent years, in view of defending and promoting the universal
values of freedom, democracy, and human rights, Taiwan initiated founding of the Pacific Democratic Union, established the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, and actively participates in the activities of related non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Taiwan’s democratic institutions, open society and respect for human rights are achievements recognized the world over.
Taiwan serves as an excellent model for all those countries that seek
to embrace democracy, human rights and the norms and values of our
international community. Taiwan deserves to be taken seriously and
accepted by the United Nations. 5.
Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations constitutes
discrimination against its people, depriving them of their
fundamental right to benefit from and contribute to the work of
the United Nations
Regardless of the fact that the People’s Republic of China has no
right to, and in fact cannot, represent Taiwan in the international arena, the People’s Republic of China and United Nations officials often mistakenly invoke the UN General Assembly resolution 2758 (XXVI) mentioned previously to prevent governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and even individuals from Taiwan from participating in the activities of the United Nations and its specialized agencies, including all activities related to the Economic and Social Council. This unjust exclusion of Taiwan’s government, civic organizations and individuals contradicts the fundamental principle of universal participation that the United Nations upholds. It infringes upon the right of the people of Taiwan to be represented in the United Nations system and to engage in, and to make contributions to, the wide range of substantive UN programs for the common interests of all.
Among the examples of this discrimination are the following:
(1) The Taipei Flight Information Region (FIR) covers 188,400 square
kilometers, with 13 major international flight routes and four domestic routes in operation. It provides huge number of flight information services. However, Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration is still barred from attending the activities of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). As a matter of fact, Taipei FIR plays an essential role. It provided about 1.46 million controlled flight services with 24.97 million international passengers arriving in and departing from Taiwan, and processed 1.78 million tons of cargo in 2005. In addition, 34 airlines operate regular flights to and from Taiwan, of which 28 are foreign airlines. In 2005, 181,775 flights arrived in and departed from Taiwan.
(2) The UN Security Council has requested the international community
to take actions against international terrorism; however, Taiwan is not allowed to participate in the international counter-terrorist cooperation led by the UN. Without Taiwan’s participation in
appropriate international mechanisms to respond effectively to the Security Council’s call for action on international terrorism, there exists a critical gap in the global network to safeguard against terrorism and money laundering.
(3) The earthquake and tsunamis struck South Asia and Southeast Asia on
December 26, 2004. The Taiwanese government, in the spirit of humanitarian sympathy, and as feedback to the assistance provided by the international community after Taiwan’s 921 Earthquake in 1999, immediately announced that it would donate US$50 million for disaster relief, which ranked as the 17th largest relief commitment around the world. In addition, Taiwan’s private sector also provided US$150 million for disaster relief. Yet even though it is a major donor country, Taiwan was not allowed to attend various international relief and disaster conferences, such as the Special ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting on Aftermath of Earthquake and Tsunami held in Indonesia on January 6, 2005, the UN Ministerial-level Meeting on Humanitarian Assistance to Tsunami-affected Communities held in Geneva by the UN Office for the Coordination of the Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on January 11, 2005 and the Conference on the Health Aspects of the Tsunami Disaster in Asia held in Phuket, Thailand, by the WHO from May 4-6, 2005. This is unfair to the people of Taiwan who are eager to help others. Taiwan not only actively participates in the post-tsunami reconstruction projects organized by the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center in the capacity of member, but also hopes to participate in the mid and long-term UN and WHO sponsored programs such as international cooperation related to disaster prevention and the establishment of tsunami warning mechanisms.
(4)Although Taiwan’s health administration is responsible for handling
the health-related issues of over 20 million international travelers arriving in and departing from Taiwan annually, Taiwan has not been able to participate normally in the international discussion on issues of public health and health policy since it was excluded from the WHO in 1972. The normal channel of contact with the technical departments of the WHO has also been disrupted. This fact is not only
unfair to the 23 million people of Taiwan, but also detrimental to the health of tens of millions of people around the world. The outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Taiwan in 2003, and the more recent spread of avian flu, make it clear that Taiwan should not be excluded from the World Health Organization in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, and must immediately be allowed to participate in the WHO and its Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network and all WHO-related activities in a meaningful manner. However, the World Health Assembly (WHA) still refuses to even consider a proposal to invite Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer.
(5) The UN Millennium Development Goals show that the international
community has listed eliminating poverty and hunger as the number one goal of development and assistance. As a responsible member of the international community, Taiwan has cooperated with other countries to eliminate poverty and assist capacity building. With regards to development, Taiwan has always been willing to share its experience and achievements in development with the international community. It provides financial and technical assistance to allies with their public projects, social development, agricultural development and private sector development through investment, financing and technical assistance. It also provides financial and technical assistance to other developing countries. With regards to protection of the rights of children and women, Taiwan makes great efforts to enhance the welfare of children and adolescents, and works hard to obtain the goal of gender equality through gender mainstreaming. With respect to disease prevention, Taiwan is willing to make financial and human resource contributions to prevent and treat HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. In terms of environmental protection, Taiwan has abided by environmental protection regulations for a long time and has made efforts toward sustainable global development. It has set up the National Sustainable Development Committee to coordinate public and private resources in promoting sustainable development. In spite of Taiwan’s willingness to make contributions to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals, it is still excluded by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other UN-related agencies and governmental
international organizations related to the Millennium Development Goals.
In addition, while the world has attached great importance to human rights, and while environmental and habitat protection have become the shared responsibility of the world, Taiwan cannot join in the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Roman Statute of the International Criminal Court, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, UN Agenda 21, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the Kyoto Protocol,
and cannot participate in various UN-related meetings or activities.
It is high time that the United Nations and its specialized agencies
stop excluding Taiwan. Taiwan’s inclusion will enable it to contribute to and benefit from the global efforts led by the United Nations, while the continued exclusion of Taiwan greatly diminishes these important efforts and violates the rights of Taiwan’s 23 million people.
6. Taiwan’s long-standing commitment to the United Nations
Charter and international law and cooperation
Taiwan fully recognizes the right of all the peoples of the world to
join the United Nations by adhering to the principle which was solemnly enshrined in the preamble of the Charter itself: “We, the peoples of the United Nations.” Taiwan is also fully aware that Member States also have obligations and duties to fulfill as responsible international actors. Moreover, Article 56 of the Charter enjoins all nations to “pledge themselves to take joint and separate action” for the achievement of the purposes set forth in Article 55.
Taiwan is willing to carry out these solemn obligations because it
adheres unconditionally to the United Nations ideals of international peace and security, respect for human rights and sustainable development. In addition, with its internationally recognized achievements and progress in economic and social development, Taiwan stands ready to share its
unique experience with other nations. Over the past 50 years, through hard work and sacrifices, Taiwan has today become the world’s 17th largest economy, the world’s 16th largest trading country, and the holder of the 3rd largest foreign exchange reserves. Based on the World Competitiveness Report issued by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Switzerland among 61 economies in 2006, Taiwan ranked 18th. Further, based on the competitiveness report issued by the World Economic Forum among 104 countries in 2005, Taiwan ranked 4th. This outstanding economic growth has already greatly contributed to both regional and global prosperity, and is a crucial asset for Taiwan to carry out all of the United Nations Charter obligations.
As an example of successful economic development and democratic
progress, Taiwan’s experience could have a positive impact on many developing nations. Taiwan has always been willing to share this unique experience with the rest of the world by engaging constructively in various foreign assistance and humanitarian and relief programs. It is to be recalled that foreign aid played a crucial role in the early stages of Taiwan’s own economic and social development. The people of Taiwan share the belief that it is now their responsibility to feedback some of this generosity and cooperation to the rest of the world.
In this context, Taiwan witnessed a steady expansion of the overseas
development assistance. As of June 2006, Taiwan had 36 long-term technical missions stationed in 30 partner countries, focusing in areas as diverse as capacity building, agriculture, fisheries, horticulture, livestock, handicrafts, medicine, transportation, industry, mining, electricity generation, printing, vocational training, trade, and investment. Taking agriculture as an example, Taiwan dispatched technical missions to 13 countries, assisting local farmers to implement rice-growing projects in 2005. The total size of rice production under the assistance from Taiwan’s technical missions was 14,948 hectares, and rice production reached 77,158 tons that year.
In the area of humanitarian assistance, Taiwan is also playing an
increasingly active role. Taiwan allocates approximately 100,000 tons of rice annually as humanitarian foreign aid. After the South Asia tsunami occurred in December 2004, the Taiwanese government provided US$50
million in initial relief assistance, and also cooperated with international non-governmental organizations such as Helen Keller International and Mercy Corps in relief efforts. It also provided more than 355 tons of relief materials to tsunami-affected countries. In 2005, Taiwan’s NGOs donated 25,504 tons of rice to Indonesia, Laos and Sri Lanka, and in early 2006 donated 8,500 tons to Pakistan, Lesotho and Swaziland. In addition, both Taiwan’s public and private sectors actively devote themselves to international medical relief and the urgent prevention and treatment of diseases. In October 2005, when an earthquake struck on the border between Pakistan and India, both Taiwan’s public and private sectors immediately sent medical and relief teams to the disaster areas to help based on humanitarian considerations. When a mudslide caused severe hardship in the Philippines in February 2006, the Taiwanese government immediately provided medical equipment and US$100,000 of donations. In May 2006, the Java area of Indonesia was struck by a strong earthquake, which caused severe casualties, death and great loss. Taiwan sent three medical missions to the area to provide urgent medical assistance and donated nearly US$200,000 of medicine and medical equipment. At a time when the world closely watches the threat of avian flu, Taiwan donated 600,000 capsules of Tamiflu to Vietnam in July 2005. Taiwan also sent medical experts to Burkina Faso, Indonesia and Chad to assist with avian flu prevention.
These and other similar efforts demonstrate that, although excluded
from many major multilateral assistance funds and projects, and although
unable to fully participate in international cooperation, Taiwan still does
its best to utilize all possible channels to contribute significantly to the
development of peoples in many countries all over the world. Of course,
Taiwan’s endeavors would be much more effective if they could be
coordinated with international efforts undertaken by the United Nations
and its specialized agencies. In a time of increasingly serious resource
gaps in many vitally important programs, refusing to work with a willing
partner like Taiwan is unreasonable, if not truly irresponsible. 7. As a nation founded on human rights, Taiwan’s participation in
the United Nations would help to obtain the universality of human
As a democracy, and a responsible contributor to the world
democratic community, Taiwan devotes itself to protecting and promoting universal human rights. Its government makes efforts to allow Taiwan to integrate into the international human rights system and promises to abide by the rules and standards of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action, so that Taiwan will be in line with international human rights standards. In order to carry out these goals, Taiwan has fully abided by the UN Paris Principle by setting up an independent National Human Rights Committee. The 2003 Human Rights Award received by President Chen Shui-bian from the International League of Human Rights symbolizes the world’s recognition of Taiwan’s efforts in promoting human rights.
It is regrettable that Taiwan has no choice but to accept the
consequences of being forced to be absent from various major international cooperation systems. On March 16, 2006 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a historic resolution to set up the Human Rights Council. It is a pity that the Council is limited by the reality of international politics, and is likely to be unable to help the 23 million people of Taiwan to obtain the basic right to participate in international affairs. This has become a major loophole in this mechanism.
Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states,
“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind… Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, juristical or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs…” Therefore, refusing the 23 million people of Taiwan participation in the United Nations means violating the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It violates the human rights of the Taiwanese people, hampers the goal of universality of the Universal Declaration and will become a great regret and irony in the history of the development of human rights. The United Nations should bring Taiwan’s remarkable achievements into the fold to complete the establishment of the protection of global human rights and to bring about the ultimate goal of the universality of human rights.
8. Taiwan’s participation in the United Nations will help maintain
peace, prosperity and stability in Asia and the Pacific
Stable and peaceful relations across the Taiwan Strait are critical to a
lasting peace, security, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. As the global forum for dialogue, the United Nations could provide a platform of dialogue and mutual trust building by promoting opportunities for reconciliation and rapprochement between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China.
President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan have repeatedly called for the
peaceful settlement of political disputes between the two sides, and has in the past six years openly extended peace and goodwill gestures to the other side of the Strait over 40 times. Taiwan has also taken steps to normalize trade relations with the People’s Republic of China so as to pave the way for political reconciliation.
President Chen also stated in his videoconference with the
international press in New York on September 15, 2004, “Should it accept Taiwan, the United Nations would certainly provide a most effective international monitoring mechanism for the development of a framework of peace and stability between the two sides of the Strait. Indeed, it would be able to exercise decisive influence on peace in the Taiwan Strait and the security of the Asia-Pacific region.”
Although China ignored the strong opposition from the international
community by unilaterally adopting the so-called ”anti-secession law” on March 14, 2005, President Chen still urged on March 16 of the same year, “We are glad to see the People’s Republic of China’s stable emergence, but the Chinese authorities should demonstrate to the international community their ‘peaceful awakening’.” He further stated that “both sides of the Taiwan Strait should use dialogue based on the principles of democracy, freedom and peace to resolve disputes. Any non-democratic or non-peaceful means, regardless of excuses, shall not be accepted by the international community, and will further worsen cross-strait relations as well as alienate the feelings of the two peoples.” President Chen also stressed in his 2006 New Year address that, “Regardless of future
cross-strait relations, they should be in line with the four principles of ‘sovereignty, democracy, peace and equality’. This is the will of the majority of Taiwanese people.”
We should point out that in January 2002, both Taiwan and the
People’s Republic of China became full members of the WTO, which has
the potential to serve as a constructive platform for dialogue on trade and
economic issues between the two sides. Likewise, the United Nations and
its specialized agencies can provide a multilateral forum for contacts on a
wider range of issues. This positive interaction will help build trust and
confidence between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China and thus
contribute to peace, prosperity and stability in Asia and the Pacific. 9. The representation of Taiwan in the United Nations will benefit all
As it is previously stated, Taiwan is a democratic society full of
vitality. It is also an active international partner. If Taiwan’s 23 million people were to have representation in the United Nations and be able to participate in the UN and UN-related agencies, it would fulfill the principle of universality in membership, making the world body more representative, comprehensive and effective. It will also contribute to maintaining international peace and security and to enhancing international cooperation in political, economic, social and cultural development, as well as in human rights and humanitarian affairs. At the same time, it will help the UN Millennium Development Goals to be realized at an earlier date. More importantly, this is a realistic and rational arrangement in line with the status quo of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.
The 23 million people of Taiwan need the United Nations, and the
United Nations needs the 23 million people of Taiwan!
The General Assembly,
Considering, with concern, the fact that the 23 million people of
Taiwan are the only remaining people in the world who still lack representation in the United Nations, which violates the principles and spirit of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular the fundamental principle of universality, and of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
Recalling, further, that General Assembly resolution 2758 (XXVI)
addressed only the issue of the representation of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations and all related organizations, did not determine that Taiwan is a part of the People’s Republic of China, and did not confer on the People’s Republic of China the right to represent the Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as Taiwan) or the people of Taiwan in the United Nations and all related organizations,
Noting the fact that, since its establishment in 1949, the People’s
Republic of China has never exercised any control or jurisdiction over Taiwan, nor has the government of Taiwan ever exercised any control or jurisdiction over the territory of the People’s Republic of China,
Noting, further, that Taiwan has transformed itself into a free,
democratic state after terminating four decades of authoritarian rule,
Acknowledging that the democratically elected government in
Taiwan is the sole legitimate government that can represent Taiwan and the people of Taiwan in the United Nations and the international community,
Observing that the people of Taiwan and their elected leaders are
committed to the universal values of democracy, freedom and human rights as well as to the enhancement of international cooperation on economic, social and cultural development and humanitarian assistance,
Mindful of the importance of the strategic position of Taiwan in the
Asia-Pacific region, and that the participation of Taiwan in the United Nations will contribute significantly to the maintenance of international peace and security in that region through preventive diplomacy, Decides:
(a) To recognize the right of the 23 million people of Taiwan to
representation in the United Nations system and invite Taiwan’s representative to participate in the meetings and activities of the United Nations and its related agencies;
(b) To take appropriate measures to implement paragraph (a) of this
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