Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The 2007 UN Bid To-date

It would make sense to begin with a recap of what has happened with Taiwan’s campaign for UN membership so far this year:

On July 19 Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian submitted a letter to the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon—via two Taiwan-friendly UN members—appealing for the consideration of Taiwan for UN membership. The letter, however, never officially made it to the Secretary-General’s office, as it was turned away by the UN Office of Legal Affairs citing Resolution 2758.

We are sure that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is very busy man, but we can only hope that he has at least unofficially reviewed President Chen’s letter for his own personal edification at some point in the past two weeks. In any case, why the UN Office of Legal Affairs opted to make such a flawed argument while blocking this request—from even being considered by the Secretary-General—is beyond our understanding. Since then, many pro-Taiwan groups and even some United States officials have pointed out that the UN Secretariat is out of line on at least two levels: 1) it is the Secretary-General’s responsibility to dutifully forward requests for membership to the General Assembly for that body’s consideration, and, 2) Resolution 2758 makes absolutely no mention of the political status of the island of Taiwan, merely rejecting the notion in 1971 that Chiang Kai-shek’s government lawfully represented China within the UN.

Below are links to UN General Assembly Resolution 2758, President Chen’s letter to the Secretary-General, the UN Secretariat's statements on the subject and a few newspaper articles on the topic:

UN Resolution 2758

President Chen of Taiwan to UN Secretary-General Ban

Spokesperson's Noon Briefing, 23 July 2007

Highlights of the Noon Briefing, 23 July 2007

"UN legal affairs office rejects 'Taiwan' bid." Taiwan Journal. 27 July 2007.

"Allies accuse Ban of violating UN protocol." Taipei Times. 5 August 2007.

There have been some other interchanges since, but the rejection of President Chen’s letter so far seems to us to be the main thing.

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