U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement saying that the U.S. supports Taiwan’s “meaningful participation” in U.N. activities, and urged other U.N. member states to join the U.S.
Taiwan has demonstrated a world-class response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Taiwan was, however, not allowed to participate as an observer in the World Health Organization (WHO) General Assembly in May. This is because China stood in the way, although we have much to learn from Taiwan.
“This is not a political issue, but a pragmatic one, and Taiwan’s exclusion undermines the important work of the UN and its related bodies,” said Secretary Blinken.
The secretary made a valid point.
Taiwan has a population of 24 million. For UN agencies, the downside of having such a large number of people “exist in a vacuum” in the fight against an infectious disease that has ravaged the world is huge.
Taiwan has advanced technologies not only in the field of public health, but in many other areas as well. It is the role of the UN and related organizations to link such technologies for the prosperity of the world as a whole.
Japan also pushed for Taiwan’s participation as an observer in the WHO General Assembly but to no avail. Neither the current circumstances of the WHO, over which China yields a strong influence, nor the exclusion of Taiwan from the UN agencies can be left unattended. Japan should immediately express its support for Secretary Blinken’s call.
Taiwan is also seeking support for its participation in the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO) before its annual meeting in November. There should be no “vacuum” anywhere in international cooperation to deal with crime. We want the voices of as many countries and regions as possible to be reflected on the issue of cybersecurity in particular as a focal point.
The Chinese government overreacted to Secretary Blinken’s statement in an extraordinary way. The Chinese Embassy to the U.S. issued a press release condemning the U.S. statement as a challenge to the “One China” principle and vehemently opposing it, saying, “It is absolutely unacceptable.”
U.S. President Joe Biden criticized China’s actions against Taiwan as “coercive” during the recent East Asia Summit held online. The U.S. must protect Taiwan from China’s military pressure.
In September, China and Taiwan applied for membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement one after the other. If Taiwan can join the TPP, it will be one of the few multilateral frameworks in which Taiwan participates. We want the Japanese government to provide full support for Taiwan’s participation in the TPP. If China is allowed to join the TPP first, Beijing will certainly reject Taiwan’s membership application. Japan must respond to such situation in a resolute manner.