WU: Time for Taiwan at the table

Posters protesting Taiwan’s continued exclusion from the UN and the international community are seen near the United Nations headquarters during a march and rally, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The daunting task of pandemic response and post-pandemic recovery requires input and assistance from all nations if international efforts are to succeed. It is time for the international community to welcome Taiwan as a full member of the United Nations.

There is no compelling reason to obstruct Taiwan’s participation. The country has already proven that it can offer value as a productive global partner.

Taiwan has contributed to the achievement of several global goals and collaborative efforts among allied partners to tackle the challenges presented by the pandemic.

The nation has fulfilled its UN Sustainable Development Goals in gender equality, clean water, sanitation and health. Taiwan is also spearheading the transition towards achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

In recent history, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has placed undue pressure on UN countries and agencies to continue to reject Taiwan, citing the 1971 UN Resolution that specifies who represents China. However, that resolution does not authorize China to claim sovereignty or representation over Taiwan, despite the PRC’s assertions to the contrary. This deceptive coercion is restricting the representative freedoms of over 23 million people.

Not only is Taiwan obstructed from civil participation, but Taiwanese passport holders are also discriminated against daily. Taiwanese citizens are denied access to UN premises for tours or meetings. Journalists are not allowed to cover UN events.

This jingoism runs counter to the idealistic goals of multilateralism and protecting fundamental rights that the UN represents. By arbitrarily barring Taiwan’s civil society from international cooperation, the UN actively holds back international cooperation.

Taiwan stands ready to offer helping hands and minds. The World Happiness Report 2021 ranked Taiwan the happiest country in East Asia. The citizenry greatly wants to work with global partners and pass on the community-based solutions and experiences that have benefited its society.

In his oath of office this year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged that everyone needed a seat at the table to build inclusive, fair and sustainable developments for the future.

Now is the time for Taiwan to sit at that table.

Joseph Wu is Foreign Minister in the Taiwan Embassy in Atlanta, Georgia