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12 allies speak up for Taiwan at U.N. debate: MOFA

ROC Central News Agency

2018/10/02 11:54:44

Taipei, Oct. 2 (CNA) A total of 12 of Taiwan's diplomatic allies spoke out for the country in the general debate of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly that concluded Monday, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said Tuesday.

MOFA spokeswoman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said 12 of Taiwan's 17 diplomatic allies showed their support for Taiwan in their addresses during the general debate from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1 as part of the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly held at its headquarters in New York.

The 12 countries that did speak up for Taiwan were Paraguay, the Marshall Islands, eSwatini, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands and Belize, Lee said.

Also, 12 of Taiwan's diplomatic allies jointly sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in support of Taiwan's request to play a more active role in the international organization.

Those 12 countries were Haiti, the Marshall Islands, eSwatini, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands and Belize.

Aside from the joint letter, three other diplomatic allies -- Nicaragua, Paraguay and Honduras -- sent their own individual letters to the U.N. Secretariat.

The two allies that did not publicly support Taiwan during the general debate or with letters were Guatemala and the Holy See.

Taiwan's only diplomatic ally in Europe, the Holy See, is not a member of the U.N. but a permanent observer state that rarely speaks of political issues in the general debate.

Commenting on Guatemala's silence, Lee said Guatemala has tended to focus on issues related to their internal affairs during their leaders' general debate speeches in past years.

The Central American ally did previously speak up for Taiwan during the World Health Assembly held this May, according to Lee, showing bilateral ties remain strong and stable.

Back then, Guatemalan Health Minister Carlos Enrique Soto also thanked Taiwan for its support in boosting medical care services to pregnant women and newborns in his country.

"Each diplomatic ally is using the approach they deem most appropriate to voice their support for Taiwan, and for this we give them our full respect," Lee said.

At each U.N. General Assembly meeting between 2009 to 2017, an average of 13 to 18 of Taiwan's diplomatic allies mentioned Taiwan in their addresses.

Last year, when the country had 20 allies, 15 countries spoke up for Taiwan.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) lost its U.N. membership in 1971 with the passage of a resolution stating that the People's Republic of China was the only legitimate representative of China to the international body.

The government then launched an unsuccessful annual campaign starting in 1993 to reclaim the country's U.N. seat.

In 2007, during the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), the government sought U.N. membership under the name Taiwan, but that campaign got nowhere.

Under the Kuomintang (KMT) administration from 2008 to 2016, the government did not apply to re-enter the U.N. under the Republic of China name or apply for new U.N. membership as Taiwan, deciding instead to pursue meaningful participation in U.N.-affiliated organizations.

Since taking power in May 2016, the DPP administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has adopted an approach similar to that of the previous KMT government, including asking diplomatic allies to speak out during the U.N. General Assembly debate in support of Taiwan's "meaningful participation."

(By Joseph Yeh)

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