Beijing | China rejected, on Wednesday, the United States’ proposal to grant Taiwan “meaningful participation” in the United Nations, after statements made by Joe Biden about his “commitment” to defending the island from a possible Chinese attack.
“Taiwan is an important US partner and a democratic success,” US chief of diplomacy Anthony Blinken estimated on Tuesday against the backdrop of rising tensions with Beijing over the island’s fate.
In a statement, he called on the rest of the world to “support Taiwan’s meaningful and robust participation in the United Nations system and the international community,” saying its contribution is essential to dealing with an “unprecedented number of global challenges.”
Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said in Beijing on Wednesday that China’s reaction was short-lived: “Taiwan has no right to participate in the United Nations,” noting that only sovereign countries can join the United Nations.
The rift between the two Pacific giants comes as the communist regime just celebrated its fiftieth anniversary of its membership in the United Nations, at the expense of the Taiwanese government that until then held the seat attributed to China.
Anthony Blinken noted that Taiwan’s participation “in some UN specialized agencies” has been effective “for most of the past 50 years”.
Il a toutefois fait remarquer qu’elle était devenue “récemment” impossible, notamment au sein de l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé ou de l’Organisation de l’aviation civile internationale — pointant, sans la nommer, l’opposition grandissante de China.
“Excluding Taiwan undermines the important work of the United Nations and its agencies,” he stressed.
The foreign minister emphasized that Taiwan’s participation in the UN system “is not a political issue, it is a practical issue”, insisting that it is in line with his doctrine regarding the island and the UN, China.
“Thank you Mr. Blinken for recognizing Taiwan’s role as a vital partner of the United States and a democratic model,” the Taiwanese diplomat responded on Twitter, praising the “critical support to effectively address global challenges.”
Washington regularly advocates for better representation of Taipei at UN agencies and international meetings. But the publication of such a statement when tensions are at its height with Beijing, on this issue as on many other topics, appears intended to send a new assertive message.
China considers the island of 23 million people, which it does not control, as one of its territories awaiting reunification with the rest of the country.
But the Asian giant recently doubled down on incursions by warplanes into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (Adiz), raising fears of an eventual break with the status quo – and prompting the US – to raise the tone.
In response to a question last week about the possibility of US military intervention to defend Taiwan in the event of an attack from China, President Joe Biden replied in the affirmative: “Yes, we have an obligation in that direction,” if he stated so.
His statement seemed to contradict the long-standing US policy of so-called “strategic ambiguity”. Hereby, Washington assists Taipei in building and strengthening its defenses but without explicit promises of assistance in the event of an attack.
The US president’s comments were poorly received in Beijing, which called on him to be “cautious” in order to “not severely damage Sino-US relations”.
After that, the US government made sure that its policy toward Taiwan did not change.
The United States has recognized communist China since 1979, at the expense of Taiwan, but the US Congress at the same time demands that the island be supplied with weapons for its defense.
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