Friday, September 21, 2007

General Committee keeps Taiwan membership off the Agenda

UN General Assembly President Kerim opens the 62nd Session
(UN Photo/Marco Castro)
Wednesday, around 10 AM Eastern Time, the UN General Committee convened to deliberate over and finalize the agenda for the 62nd UN General Assembly. 16 of Taiwan's allies had proposed August 14 in a written document that Taiwan's application for membership be added for consideration to the GA's agenda. Before voting on this measure, the chairman (also the President of the General Assembly: Srgjan Kerim of Macedonia) suggested that it be debated with representative arguments from two supporters of Taiwan membership and two of its detractors.

Palau, one of Taiwan's Pacific allies, voiced its opposition to the chairman's proposal, stating that the floor should be left open for all interested parties to have a voice in the debate. Sri Lanka, one of the PRC's allies, voiced its support for the chairman's suggestion. The chairman's proposal for a "2 v. 2" debate was put to a vote and passed, 34 countries in favor and 3 against.

In the ensuing debate, St. Vincent and the Grenadines took the floor first on behalf of Taiwan, followed by China, after which spoke Taiwan's ally the Solomon Islands, and lastly Egypt, which was in opposition to adding the item to the General Assembly agenda.

No consensus was reached on whether to add the item to the agenda, therefore the Chairman dismissed the item and the issue of Taiwan's application for UN membership was not allowed to be openly debated in the General Assembly this year.

Those were the proceedings and, this being Friday, the "failure" of Taiwan's fifteenth consecutive application to the UN is allready old news. We apologize in our tardiness for putting off this post.

Our analysis is that, although China is continuing to successfully bar Taiwan from the UN, it had better be careful, as each year's victory may become increasingly pyrrhic. China's severe whip-cracking in the UN when it comes to this issue may get the job done, but many countries may start to chafe at the incessant pressure to openly ignore the ideals of open dialogue and equal representation upon which the United Nations is based.

Furthermore, this is backward motion if China ever hopes to endear itself with the Taiwanese. China may be holding off on taking military action to get what they want (because they can't), but Beijing sure isn't making any progress towards a political resolution in the meantime. Every year that common citizens on Taiwan go without international representation is another year that Taiwanese get increasingly estranged from their mainland neighbor.

And what was the deal with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during this whole process anyway? The Secretariat continues to cling to its ludicrous interpretation of Res. 2758 even though any first-year law student or even a high school senior on the mock trial club could deduce that the logic behind the UN's so-called One China Policy is absolutely bogus.

As we said before, Secretary-General Ban's job wasn't that difficult: he merely had to pass the letter along to the Security Council where it would surely be defeated by China's veto. If Ban is in the China pocket (the only explanation we can think of), why would China be so paranoid as to request that the Secretary-General risk his legitimacy simply to create a second layer of defense for what is allready admittedly a fool-proof firewall? It's proof of China's characteristic authoritarian paranoia and an embarrasment to the organization as a whole.

China loves to point the finger and portray Taiwan as the irresponsible "agitator" vis-à-vis the status quo, when in reality, Taiwan's government is cautiously attempting to extricate its people from political limbo while China continues to shrug off the idea of participating in global trade and politics with even a modicum of responsibility. When will the double-standard end?