17 September 2007

Taiwan still wants to join the UN

Taiwan is still trying to join the United Nations. From Taipei Times -

'UN Membership: Taiwan belongs in UN, experts say' (15 September 2007)
Taiwan's application for UN membership represents the political will to self-determination of all Taiwanese people, and the UN, the US and the international community should support the idea that the nation belongs in the UN, US academics said yesterday.

As Article 55 of the UN Charter stipulates that the organization respects self-determination of peoples and promotes human rights, the UN General Assembly and the Secretariat have no right to reject Taiwan's application, Jordan Paust, a law professor at the University of Houston, said in an address to a conference on Taiwan's UN application hosted by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy in Taipei yesterday.

"Taiwan functions as an independent state and it is time for Taiwanese self-determination to ripen into a far more widely recognized statehood status for Taiwan and membership in the United Nations," he said.

'Taiwan's statehood is undeniable' (17 August 2007)

One theory is that Taiwan is part of China. This is what the People's Republic of China (PRC) argues, citing history, the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Declaration, succession to the Republic of China (ROC), UN General Assembly Resolution 2758, and that "Taiwan is an internal affair of China," to support its position.

Yet Beijing's argument fails the tests of both reality and international law, for the following reasons.

One, Taiwan has been fought over by foreigners for hundreds of years, while the Taiwanese have battled for their existence and self-governance. There have been the indigenous peoples and the Han Chinese, the Dutch and Spanish colonial empires competing over Taiwan, Cheng Cheng-kung's (鄭成功) family dynasty, the nominal rule of the Qing dynasty (which ceded Taiwan to Japan shortly after making it a province), the brief establishment of the Republic of Formosa, 50 years of Japanese colonial rule and the military occupation following World War II.

Taiwan has evolved into a sovereign and independent nation. Clearly, Taiwan has not been "an inseparable part of China since ancient times."

'The evolution of Taiwan's statehood' (9 August 2007)

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) sent an official letter of application for UN membership using the name "Taiwan" to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on July 19. However, Ban ignored realities and UN procedure and had the UN legal department return the letter.

The Chinese government fiercely opposes Taiwan's UN application on the grounds that Taiwan is not a country but only a part of China. Whether or not Taiwan is a state or a country will become a central topic for international political forces.

Taiwan is a sovereign, independent nation, not a part of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It's status is therefore not an internal issue of China.

I don't think much of their chances. Is 'Taiwan' now claiming that their Republic of China never existed and which claimed to govern mainland China? History of their own making now comes back to haunt them.

When the Republic of China (on Taiwan) had the chance, they should have admitted defeat and recognised the communist regime on the mainland instead of continuing the 'civil war'. Then they should have declared Taiwan as an independent state at that time instead of the farcical 'one China' which continues to this day, and which Taiwan now pretends never existed.

They may carry on, and some of the Taiwanese and mainland Chinese diaspora may have some strong views, but the rest of the world has no interest in this matter.

Still, it is a fascinating case study in international relations.

I arrived at work this morning earlier than usual. After I arrived home from work, I fell asleep for an hour or so. Clearly I have my limits.

No comments: