Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU urged to support Taiwan's UN bid

eupolitix.com - 13 September 2007

MEPs have thrown their weight behind Taiwan’s bid to join the United Nations.

The cross-party group also urged the EU to “take a stance” against China’s alleged “intimidation” against its small neighbour across the Taiwan straits. The demand comes on the eve of a meeting on 18 September of the UN general assembly.

Taiwan had hoped that its bid for UN membership, its 13th application, would be considered at the gathering in New York but the organisation’s secretariat has already rejected the application.

This has not stopped Taiwan from mounting a major international lobbying effort and, today, it took its campaign to the European parliament with a video-conference involving the Taiwan president, Chen Shui-bian, and several MEPs. There was also a small demontration outside the European commission building in Brussels by the Taiwanese Association in Belgium.

UK EPP-ED deputy Charles Tannock questioned whether any of the 27 EU member states would “break rank” and speak out against the EU’s continued support of the so-called “One-China” policy.

He said, “It seems strange that there is a huge rush to resolve the Kosovo issue yet the Taiwan issue cannot be raised in the UN without intimidation.”

ALDE group leader Graham Watson told the conference that Taiwan’s seemingly forlorn application this year once again highlighted the need for the UN to become more “democratic, representative and effective”.

His comments were echoed by Socialist deputy Paulo Casaca, who said Taiwan deserved to be a UN member as it could now boast a “highly successful” economy and had proved that it was “committed” to peace and democracy.

Another MEP, Polish Konrad Szymanksi, of the UEN group, said, “The fact that Taiwan has made 12 failed attempts to join the UN says a lot about the UN itself and highlights the need for the UN to reform.”

Luxembourg centre-right deputy Astrid Lulling, who also took part in the c

onference, conceded that Taiwan’s UN application this year was “unlikely” to succeed but said this did not mean it could continue trying to join the world international body.

Speaking by video from Taipei, Chen appealed to the EU and its member states to “admonish” the UN for rejecting its application, the first time Taiwan has filed for membership under the name ‘Taiwan’ rather than its constitutional name, the Republic of China.

“To people around the world, international participation is a basic human right but China’s obstruction has rendered this little, but legitimate, hope of 23 Taiwanese merely a pipe dream.

“Being excluded from the UN deprives Taiwan of access to all the UN specialised agencies which cover a wide range of areas closely related to the well being of humankind.

“No country should be excluded from such important matters.”