Ever since its exclusion from the UN, Taiwan has been trying to re-enter the otherwise inclusive body. According to statements by various Taiwanese official sources, the UN continues to misuse and misinterpret resolution 2758 (XXVI), adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1971, to justify what critics claim was its wrongful exclusion and isolation of Taiwan.
In the light of recent experiences, critics point out that a truly inclusive UN would not leave anyone behind. The present reality, however, that has been enacted by the United Nations, looks quite different. Taiwan passport holders are forbidden from entering UN premises for public visits and meetings. Another example involves dozens of NGOs being denied Consultative Status by the UN Economic and Social Council simply because a reference to Taiwan in their documents contradicts China’s demands.
According to international regulations that also involve the UN, international organizations are created to meet the common objectives of its members, not to serve the interests of just one member. Article 100 of the UN Charter states the following: “In the performance of their duties the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the Organization.” Advocates for Taiwan’s inclusion into the body of the UN call it unfortunate that the UN sits idly by whenever China seeks to impose its so-called “one China principle” on the UN.
Taiwan’s undeterred efforts
In recent years, Taiwan has been lending a helping hand in matters of development and engaging in programs with partner countries in the Pacific, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Considering Taiwan’s arsenal of experience and list of contributions, it seems almost like a parody that it is barred from sharing its experience and crucial information with the international societies within the UN. This represents valuable information that could be used to improve international efforts in regard to the UN’s goals. In 2018 alone, Taiwan conducted development projects in 39 of the SDG areas of interest. According to the government of Taiwan, there are six major areas of interest with respect to those of the SDGs:
- Smart water management
- Sustainable energy transformation
- Clean air
- Sustainable materials management and the circular economy
- Ecological conservation and green networks
- International partnerships
All these areas align with the main theme of the UN’s High-Level Political Forum 2018, the SDGs, and the 5Ps — people, planet, peace, prosperity, and partnership — referred to in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
If the UN continues to yield to China’s coercion by rejecting Taiwan’s participation, it will only encourage Beijing’s callousness, according to geopolitical experts. Efforts to fulfill the purpose of achieving international cooperation could become even more difficult. Solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, along with promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, as stated in Article 1 of the UN Charter, will also become increasingly difficult. If the host of nations is really serious about promoting inclusion and making development sustainable for all, it may be imperative to consider opening its doors to Taiwan.