By Ebi Kesiena
China insisted on Wednesday that Taiwan had no right to join the United Nations, after the United States ratcheted up tensions with a call for the democratic island to have greater involvement in the world body.
In a statement marking 50 years since the UN General Assembly voted to seat Beijing and boot out Taipei, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he regretted that Taiwan had been increasingly excluded on the world stage.
“As the international community faces an unprecedented number of complex and global issues, it is critical for all stakeholders to help address these problems. This includes the 24 million people who live in Taiwan.
“Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the UN system is not a political issue, but a pragmatic one. That is why we encourage all UN member states to join us in supporting Taiwan’s robust, meaningful participation throughout the UN system and in the international community,” he said.
China considers Taiwan where nationalist forces fled in 1949 after losing a civil war to the communists to be a province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
Also, China responded to Blinken’s statement with strident, albeit familiar, statements emphasising its position that Taiwan’s government had no place on the global diplomatic stage.
Spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing, Ma Xiaoguang told reporters that Taiwan has no right to join the United Nations.
“The United Nations is an international governmental organisation composed of sovereign states, Taiwan is a part of China.”
But the latest statement adds to an escalation of diplomatic rhetoric and military posturing over Taiwan.
China is regularly setting records for its number of warplane flights near the island.
US President Joe Biden last week told a televised forum that the United States was ready to defend Taiwan from any Chinese invasion.
The United States switched recognition in 1979 to Beijing.
But Congress at the same time approved the Taiwan Relations Act that obligated the supply of weapons to the island for its self-defence.
Blinken on Tuesday reiterated that the United States still recognised only Beijing.
But he emphasised the democratic credentials of the island of 23 million people.
“Taiwan has become a democratic success story. We are among the many UN member states who view Taiwan as a valued partner and trusted friend,” he said.