The United Nations Is Creating a Security Dilemma for Taiwan

    J. Michael Cole

    Security, Asia

    Motorcyclists ride past a Taiwanese national flag on referendum day that will decide if casinos can be built on the outlying island of Penghu, Taiwan October 15, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

    Taiwan remains shunned by the UN, which insists on de jure sovereignty for membership and continues to operate under a “One China” policy.

    Taiwan and its allies at the United Nations will once again make the case during the UN General Assembly for the meaningful participation of Taiwan within the world body and its specialized agencies.

    The world’s twenty-second largest economy with a population of 23.5 million people, Taiwan is also a spectacular—and rare—example of what a people can accomplish when they peacefully transition from authoritarianism to a liberal-democratic way of life. Over the thirty years since the lifting of martial law, Taiwan has deepened its democracy and now occupies an enviable position as one of the safest, freest and most responsible nations, which the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators project makes amply clear.

    Taiwan boasts the freest media environment in Asia in a time of troubling erosion worldwide. Its rule of law and human rights protection mechanisms are a shining example to a region where violations are rampant. Its public-health sector is with few equals, and it is a leader in disease control and humanitarian relief.

    Notwithstanding all these accomplishments, Taiwan remains shunned by the United Nations, which insists on de jure sovereignty for membership and continues to operate under a “One China” policy that, for all intents and purposes, leaves Taiwan out in the cold.

    Given the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which pledges to “leave no one behind,” it is no small irony that a modern, democratic and fully globalized Taiwan continues to be shunned even though it has repeatedly signalled its desire to help the international community achieve the bold objectives set out by the agenda.

    The injustice done to the peace-loving people of Taiwan is salient, especially when we consider that Taiwanese nationals have repeatedly been denied entry at UN buildings unless they presented a Mainland China Travel Permit.

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    The National Interest

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