A MESSAGE IN COMMEMORATION OF THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SIGNING OF THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER
H.E. Lee Teng-hui
Republic of China
June 26, 1995
As the year 1995 marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations (U.N.) Charter, countries all over the world are commemorating this significant event exalting the principles and spirit of peace, equality, justice and development enshrined in the Charter. Taking this opportunity I would like to express my highest commendation and respect for the endeavors and accomplishments made by the U.N. in the fields of global social development, international humanitarian assistance, and world peace and security.
Half a century ago when the statesmen of the world assembled in San Francisco to put the U.N. Charter into its final shape, it was hoped that a universal and effective international organization would be founded to free human beings from the scourges of war, poverty, disease, ignorance and oppression, and that it could ensure peace, prosperity and justice for the world.
When the U.N. carne into being in 1945, the Republic of China (ROC) was proud to be one of its founding members and a permanent member of its Security Council. This support for the U.N. has continued unabated. In the chapter on "Fundamental National Policies" of her constitution, the ROC has made it clear that "the foreign policy of the Republic of China...shall respect...the Charter of the United Nations." During her 26 years' participation in the U.N., my country endorsed the efforts for self-determination and independence of the emerging new states and their peoples and supported international cooperation in the economic, social, cultural, educational and health areas.
However, Resolution 2758 (XXVI), adopted by the 26th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in 1971, forced the ROC to withdraw from the U.N. family. That Resolution provided only for the U.N. representation of the Chinese people on the Chinese mainland. It ignored the fundamental rights of the 21 million residents on Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu--areas under the jurisdiction of the ROC--and deprived them of the right to participate in the political, economic, cultural and social development activities within the U.N. system. This aberrant situation, which has lasted for 24 years, is at variance with the principles and spirit of the U.N. Charter. It is high time for the U.N. to face this issue seriously and search for a solution.
In fact, the ROC has been a sovereign state since her establishment in 1912. Although, as a result of civil war and the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) on the Chinese mainland in 1949, the ROC government for the time being can exercise effective control over only Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, the ROC still maintains her international personality as a sovereign state.
The ROC on Taiwan and her 21 million people have been committed to achieving political democratization and economic prosperity and maintaining diplomatic and substantive ties with other countries as an active member of the international community. Forty-odd years of development have made this country the world's 14th largest trading nation. To date, her GNP ranks 19th in the world; her per capita national income approximates US$12,000; her foreign exchange reserves have passed US$100 billion; and she is the sixth largest outbound investor.
The ROC government has also devoted herself to political and constitutional reform in a peaceful, step-by-step manner. My country in the past few years has had the direct elections of parliamentarians, governor of Taiwan province and mayors of Taipei and Kaohsiung cities. In March 1996 the president will also be directly elected by the people. With that, the ideal of "putting sovereign power in the hands of the people" will become a reality.
With such political, economic and social developments, the ROC on Taiwan has a strong desire, and sufficient capability, to reciprocate for what it has received from the international community, and to fulfill her international responsibilities in order to contribute to global peace and prosperity.
If she can participate fully in the activities of the U.N. and other international organizations, the ROC, with her ample capital, expertise and experience, will be able to assist further in the development of other countries through the U.N. and its related development programs. This will assuredly benefit the international community as a whole. Currently, since this country is not a U.N. member, her goodwill all too often cannot be fulfilled and demonstrated. By the same token, my country has been prevented from making further contributions to the resolution of international issues such as environmental protection and drug prevention. From this perspective, the exclusion of the ROC from the U.N. and other international organizations constitutes a significant loss to the international community.
It is a fact that China has since 1949 been divided into two separate parts along the Taiwan Straits. They are under separate jurisdictions by the ROC and PRC governments, respectively. Though the PRC government exercises jurisdiction over the Chinese mainland, it must be noted that her jurisdiction has never, for a single day, extended to Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu that are under the governance of the ROC government.
It is therefore reasonable to demand that, prior to the unification of China, our 21 million people should not be deprived of their fundamental right to participate in international activities. The ROC on Taiwan is also entitled to her own representation in the U.N. The precedents of the former states of East Germany and West Germany, and the current case of North Korea and South Korea, demonstrate that parallel participation of divided nations in the U.N. does not impede their eventual unification. We believe that, the more the two sides of the Taiwan Straits participate equally in international organizations, the more this will help to ease the hostility between them. Mutual confidence will be built thereby, and will help develop a cordial relationship and conduce to peaceful unification.
To date, as the Cold War has ended and a new world order is emerging, the ROC's campaign for participation in the U.N. and other international organizations not only reflects the common aspiration of her people to join international society, but it also exemplifies her willingness to work with other countries for our common cause. In retrospect, the ROC as a founding member of the U.N. had played a very positive, constructive role during her 26-year-long ties with this world body. Even after she was forced out in 1971, my country has still been upholding the principles and spirit of the U.N. Charter in playing her due part as a responsible member of the international community. Indeed, as a peace-loving state, the ROC is able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the U.N. Charter.
As the U.N. celebrates the 5Oth anniversary of the signing of the U.N. Charter, and at a time when the international community is becoming more pluralistic and interdependent in the post-Cold War era, the maintenance of global peace and prosperity and the principle of preventive diplomacy which encourages reconciliation have become even more pronounced. Based on these principles, the U.N. should endeavor to seek for a solution to the unjust situation of the ROC's inability to play a part in the conferences and activities of the U.N.
To support the ROC's U.N. bid would not only restore the fundamental rights of the 21 million residents on the Taiwan area, but it would also serve as a testament to the lofty goals and ideas contained in the U.N. Charter, thus effectuating the principle of international justice. More important, it would also marks recognition of a free democracy.
The Republic of China looks forward to working hand in hand with other member states in the U.N. to fulfill the visions of the San Francisco Conference and to help build a world of peace, prosperity and stability.