An Open Letter: 「23.5 million Taiwanese people should be included into the United Nations (UN)」

Image credit: Civilian Recognition of Taiwan by Can Pac Swire/Flickr, license CC BY-NC 2.0

FROM: The Taiwan United Nations Alliance (TAIUNA),  The Citizens of Taiwan

TO: The Honorable Dr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN; and The Honorable Representatives of all Member-States in the UN

For many years since 1972, Taiwan has been and is, once again, knocking on UN’s door seeking membership in this global inter-governmental organization. As part of the greater world population, the 23.5 million people of Taiwan are without representation and have been unjustly excluded since 1971.

1. The U.N Resolution 2758 (1971) Settled The Matter Over Only Representation of China and Is Inapplicable to Exclude Taiwan

Although the Republic of China (ROC) joined the UN as a founding member in 1945, it ceased to exist in China since 1949 and has existed in Taiwan until this day. In 1971, Resolution 2758 decided to award the seat for China to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Resolution 2758 in effect expelled “the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek, but did not grant PRC the right to represent the people of Taiwan, nor does it recognize China’s claim over Taiwan. Moreover, the Resolution made no mention of Taiwan, therefore Taiwan was not subject to it. Thus, it is absurd and unjustified to cite the Resolution to exclude Taiwan from the UN.

2. PRC Never Exercised Control Over Taiwan Since Its Inception

Since the PRC’s inception on October 1, 1949, it has never ruled Taiwan in any way for even a day. Despite China’s attempts for military takeover and false claim of Taiwan as a renegade province that “must be united with the mainland by force if necessary”, Taiwan has maintained stout defense capabilities to thwart China’s threat of invasion, and has developed herself as one of the vibrant democratic country in Asia. In 2016, Taiwan ranks 33rd in the Democracy Index by The Economist while China ranked far behind at 136th. Even without UN’s recognition, Taiwan thrives in democracy, economic prosperity, human rights, and civil liberty as a independent sovereign.

3. Taiwan’s Self-Determination is Consistent with Spirit of UN Charter

UN Charter Chapter 1, Article 1, part 2 states that the purpose of the UN is: “to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.” The people of Taiwan have expressed clear desire for equal representation and participation rights in the international community. Back in 2008 a national referendum held on March 22 showed that more than 5.8 million voters, which represents 94% of the total ballots, support Taiwan to join the UN. Furthermore, in 2017 opinion polls conducted by Taiwan Opinion Poll Foundation revealed 84.8% Taiwanese polled support Taiwan’s bid in joining the UN. Taiwanese people can no longer be neglected by UN sanctioned international communities. The continual exclusion of Taiwan, a democratic and independent nation and her people from the UN clearly violates the UN Charter.

4. As An Active and constructive Dominant Member in International Arena, Taiwanese People Have Contributed in Multiple Areas

In many ways Taiwan is a proactive major contributor to the international community. Taiwan is the 5th largest economy in Asia, ranks 15th in the world by the Global Competitiveness Report of World Economic Forum, and ranks 18th in the world by gross domestic product (GDP). Taiwan has contributed over $6 billion US dollars to international health, benefiting more than 80 countries since 1996, and has been making significant medical breakthroughs to share with the world. Taiwan has supplied generously with aid and emergency relief to poorer nations and has contributed to the building of a more secure and stable world. According to Bloomberg’s global innovation survey, Taiwan ranks 10th in the overall ability to innovate globally, and in the 4th in Asia. Taiwan’s 23.5 million people is a population larger than two-thirds of UN member-states. When the world faces crisis and needs humanitarian aid, Taiwan is always there at the front line, providing relief to Afghan refugees, AIDS prevention to Africa, dispatching rescue team to earthquake struck zones. The continual exclusion of Taiwan from the UN is unwise, unjust and must be rectified.


Keeping Taiwan fully involved in the UN facilitates cross-strait dialogue, cross-strait stability, and cross-strait peace between Taiwan and China. The right of Taiwan to fully participate in the international community should not be restricted by China’s political ambition. Inclusion of Taiwan will help stabilize the entire Asia-Pacific region and making the United Nation a much more representative body. Since 1971 Taiwan was excluded from UN, it is time for UN to open its door and offer Taiwan a seat.

Dr. Michael Tsai, JD, ESQ.

President, Board of Directors, Taiwan United Nations Alliance

Rev. William Lo (M.Th.)

The Secretary-Generals, Taiwan United Nations Alliance

This article is part of a special edition on Taiwan’s application for membership in the United Nations. This letter has been republished in its original form without editorial input from Taiwan Insight, and its contents represent the views of the authors/TAIUNA.

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