Nations Q& A
What is the United Nations?
United Nations was established just after World War II on
October 24, 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving
peace through international cooperation and collective security.
United Nations has six main organs: the General Assembly,
the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the
Trusteeship Council, the Secretariat and the International
Court of Justice.
How many member states are in the United Nations?
are currently 189 member states in the United Nations.
a full list of the states, please see: http://www.un.org/Overview/unmember.html
Does the United Nations provide observer status to non-states?
the United Nations provides observer status for non-states,
inter-governmental organizations and other entities.
Non-Member States maintaining permanent observer missions:
Holy See (Vatican) and Switzerland.
Entities and inter-governmental organizations as observers:
Sovereign Military Order of Malta…etc. For the full list
of observer members, please see: http://www.un.org/Overview/missions.htm#nperm
is the Republic of China no longer a member of the United
October 25, 1971, the UN General Assembly passed United
Nations Resolution 2758 (XXVI) which stated that the People’s
Republic of China is the only legitimate government of China.
The resolution replaced the ROC with the PRC as a permanent
member of the Security Council in the United Nations.
the principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
the restoration of the lawful rights of the People's Republic
of China is essential both for the protection of the Charter
of the United Nations and for the cause that the United
Nations must serve under the Charter,
that the representatives of the Government of the People's
Republic of China are the only lawful representatives of
China to the United Nations and that the People's Republic
of China is one of the five permanent members of the Security
to restore all its rights to the People's Republic of China
and to recognize the representatives of its Government as
the only legitimate representatives of China to the United
Nations, and to expel forthwith the representatives of Chiang
Kai-shek from the place which they unlawfully occupy at
the United Nations and in all the organizations related
What is the main obstacle to Taiwan joining the United Nations?
are no legal obstacles to Taiwan's joining the United Nations.
There are only political obstacles of which the most prominent
is called: China. Taiwan's main problem is that China is
a permanent member of the Security Council. All five permanent
members (China, the United States, France, the United Kingdom,
the Russian Federation) have veto power over any decision
in the Council.
to the Charter of the United Nations, admission of a new
Member needs the recommendation of the Security Council.
After the recommendation, a prospective member needs 2/3
of the votes of the General Assembly to be admitted. Today,
China would block Taiwan’s admission by vetoing the recommendation.
With Taiwan’s limited formal diplomatic relationships with
other countries, most members of the General Assembly object
to Taiwan’s admission.
China is a permanent member of the Security Council with
veto power, attempts by Taiwan to join the United Nations
at this time will not succeed, no matter what name Taiwan
What are the Taiwanese government’s efforts to join the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Taiwan has tried different
methods in the past decade. From 1993 to 1996, MOFA asked
Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the United Nations to propose
to the General Assembly to establish a “Special Council”
that would investigate Taiwan’s unique situation. The proposal
aimed to promote awareness of what is happening on both
sides of the Taiwan Strait and the unreasonable situation
Resolution 2758 has brought to Taiwan.
1997 to 1998, MOFA shifted its approach, and started asking
Taiwan’s friends to propose to the General Assembly to review
Resolution 2758, to amend the part that expelled Chang Kai-Shek’s
representatives and to restore Taiwan’s right to participate
in the United Nations and all its organizations. In the
year 2000, Taiwan’s friends’ proposal on behalf of MOFA
was “to review the ROC on Taiwan’s special international
situation in order to ensure and respect the 23 million
people of Taiwan’s basic right to join the United Nations.”
the Taiwanese government’s application to join the United
Nations has been limited to debate within the General Committee
of the General Assembly every year.
Every summer, the UN’s General Committee (which sets
the annual agenda for the UN General Assembly and in which
all permanent members—China included – have a seat) has
been unable to put the issue of Taiwan’s participation on
the General Assembly’s annual agenda due to the lack of
consensus. China never had to veto Taiwan’s participation
because China already had blocked Taiwan’s admission even
before the issue could be discussed in the General Assembly.
of Taiwan’s participation in the United Nations argue that
the Taiwan issue is an internal affair of China and reaffirm
their support for Resolution 2758.
Member States that have opposed Taiwan’s admission
have always outnumbered the proponents.
For the past decade, England, France and Russia,
which are also permanent members of the Security Council,
have all spoken against Taiwan’s admission. The U.S. has
never explicitly opposed or supported Taiwan’s admission
Can Taiwan join the United Nations as an observer?
is no specific regulation concerning UN observer status.
According to the explanation given by the UN Legal Committee,
a country that is already a member of a UN specialized agency
or a member of the UN International Court of Justice and
is widely recognized by the international community can
apply for observer status with the Secretary General. If
that country’s status is disputable, the Secretary General
will refer the case to the General Assembly.
this respect, first, Taiwan is not a member of any UN specialized
agency and will not become a member if China maintains its
objects to Taiwan’s membership in any of the UN-affiliated
organizations). Second, if the Secretary General would refer
Taiwan’s application to the General Assembly, China and
China’s diplomatic allies will object to Taiwan’s application.
fact, the issue of Taiwan joining the UN as an observer
was raised in discussions in the UN General Committee for
the past few years. Again, there has always been lack of
consensus on this issue and the issue has never made it
to the agenda of the General Assembly.
What are FAPA’s efforts in promoting Taiwan’s participation
in the United Nations?
1992, FAPA has urged the U.S. Congress to support Taiwan’s
participation in international organizations, such as the
United Nations, World Health Organization …etc. In October
2000, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate
consecutively passed a resolution (HCR390) in support of
Taiwan’s participation in the United Nations and other international
was a major step forward and a confidence boost for the
23 million people of Taiwan striving for full membership
in international organizations, such as the United Nations.
believes that the U.S. Congress holds the key to UN membership
for Taiwan. The U.S. is the only country that can stand
up against China in the international community. If the
U.S. takes the lead, other countries will be more likely
to follow. Today, the U.S. State Department, despite the
promises it made in the 1994 Taiwan Policy Review to make
Taiwan's voice heard when the time is appropriate in international
organizations that require statehood, seems unwilling to
promote Taiwan's UN membership. Through binding legislation,
the U.S. Congress needs to instruct the State Department
to more actively promote Taiwan's meaningful participation
in international organizations such as the World Health
Organization. Thus Taiwan will get a foot in the door of
the United Nations system. This will be the first step on
the road of Taiwan's striving to join international organizations
such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization.
What can you do?
full membership in the United Nations is a long-term strategy
and goal. As long as China has permanent membership in the
Security Council and threatens to wield its veto power,
Taiwan is very difficult to join the United Nations. Any
attempt by Taiwan to join international political organizations
(such as the United Nations) is deemed by the present Chinese
leadership as an attempt to challenge China’s sovereignty
FAPA strongly believes that it is a campaign that needs
to be pushed with patience and realistic viewpoints. FAPA's
consistent annual campaign will promote U.S. public awareness
of Taiwan’s significant accomplishments, its contributions
to the world community and as a sovereign state.
FAPA's resolution H.C.R.390, as passed in October
2000 by both Houses of the U.S. Congress, is a significant
victory and confidence boost to Taiwan's UN campaign.
Taiwan's UN campaign we need to educate the world that Taiwan
is not part of China and Taiwan deserves full participation
in international organizations just like every other country.
should join the United Nations as a new member. FAPA pushes
to use the name “Taiwan”. We do not support overturning
UN Resolution 2758. In 1971, the U.N. passed Resolution
2758 bringing the People's Republic of China into the UN
and expelling the "representatives of Chiang Kai-shek"
from the organization. Overturning Resolution 2758 would
theoretically expel the PRC from the U.N.
check the FAPA website in the first week of February 2001
for the new WHO bill and ask your Representative and Senators
to support this year's resolution.
Letters to the editor and articles placed in your
local newspapers are also valuable ways to educate the broader
might also sponsor forums in your community or on local
university campuses that reach more American citizens.
we can make Taiwan's membership in the United Nations a