WU: Taiwan is our friend in Asia, not China

A woman takes a photo with Taiwan national flags during National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Building in Taipei, Taiwan, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

The global community is confronting a number of unprecedented crises: COVID-19, climate change, supply chain disruptions, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Now more than ever, China’s actions are jeopardizing the well-being of the world. As the UN members meet again in New York this year, it is worth reminding these leaders that all people — including the people of Taiwan — deserve to have their voices heard. 

Taiwan is a beacon of democracy in Asia and a force for good in the world. During the pandemic, Taiwan has provided masks, medical supplies, and its homegrown vaccine to global communities. Taiwan also sent relief supplies and millions in donations to the people of Ukraine following the Russian invasion. On climate change, Taiwan has a blueprint for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and policies to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Taiwan plays a key role in global supply chains and, unlike China, lets its free and open society lead by example. 

Sadly, Taiwan is unable to participate in the most important forum of global cooperation due to suppression by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). By deliberately conflating its “One China” principle with the UNGA Resolution 2758 — the decades-old resolution that determined who represents “China” in the organization — Beijing is spreading the fallacy that Taiwan is a part of the PRC. Contrary to this claim, the resolution does not take a position on Taiwan. This wrongful interpretation has long deprived Taiwan of the right to participate in the United Nations and its specialized agencies. 

The UN Charter states clearly that its purpose is to maintain international peace and stability. However, Beijing continues to conduct military exercises in areas around Taiwan, undermining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. The UN and its member states must stop allowing such a member, which ironically is a member of the UN Security Council, to dictate the positions of the organization to suit its own political agenda. 

The theme of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges” pointedly reminds us of the grave challenges we all face. When the UN talks about “joint solutions” and “solidarity” to tackle “interconnected crises,” Taiwan could not agree more. And the 23.5 million resilient Taiwanese people surely should not be excluded from such important global efforts. 

We are thankful that countries worldwide are beginning to realize what Taiwan can offer and many, including the US, support Taiwan’s robust participation in the UN system. Our shared obstacles require all hands on deck.  Taiwan has proven its worth, and the people of Taiwan stand ready to contribute. Let’s work together as one for the global good! 

Joseph Wu is Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan)