8 allies deliver letter to UN expressing support for Taiwan

Foreign Minister for Belize, Wilfred Elrington, addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, at the United Nations headquarters.In his address to the UN, had no qualms criticizing the UN for excluding Taiwan. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New Work, Oct. 2 (CNA)-Representatives from eight of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies delivered a joint letter signed by 12 of the nation’s allies to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday.

The letter supported Taiwan’s request to play a more active role in the international body, including the lifting of restrictions on Taiwanese media covering UN events. The eight representatives came from Belize, St. Kitts and Nevis, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Haiti, Kiribati, the Vatican and eSwatini.

The letter called on the UN to allow Taiwan to participate in UN related conferences and mechanisms, Lois M. Young, Permanent Representative of Belize to the UN, told reporters in New York following the meeting with Rosemary A. DiCarlo, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs of the U.N., who promised to refer the letter to Guterres.

Young identified four demands: Taiwan should be allowed to participate in the meetings of UN agencies; Taiwanese experts should be allowed to attend UN agency meetings if invited to do so; Taiwanese media should be permitted to cover UN agencies meetings; and Taiwanese tourists should not be required to show a travel permit issued by China in order to access U.N. premises, as they are often required to do.

Sam Terrence Condor, Permanent Representative of Saint Kitts and Nevis to the U.N., told reporters that the meeting with DiCarlo was cordial and the U.N. side showed “some empathy to our position.”

Meanwhile, Robert Sisilo, Permanent UN Representative of the Solomon Islands said during the meeting the delegation talked about the possible role Taiwan could play at the UN.

“Taiwan can make a difference if it is permitted into the UN,” he said. In response, Sisilo said the UN official cited General Assembly resolution 2758 from 1971 as the reason Taiwan cannot participate in UN events.

Passed on October 25, 1971 during the 26th session of the UN General Assembly, the resolution recognized the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as “the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations.”

The 12 countries to sign the letter to Guterres 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.

Meanwhile, leaders from 12 diplomatic allies also spoke up for Taiwan during their respective general debate session. They 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. Three other diplomatic allies — Nicaragua, Paraguay and Honduras — sent their own letters to the UN Secretariat.

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

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

However, Monsignor Tomasz Grysa, deputy head of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN, did show support for Taiwan by joining representatives of the seven other allies thatsigned the joint letter in delivering it to the UN Tuesday.

Although Haitian President Jovenel Moise did not mention Taiwan in his general debate address, Willy Louis, Permanent Mission Representative of Haiti to the UN did sign the joint
letter and was part of the delegation that delivered it to DiCarlo on Tuesday.

Louis touted to reporters Taiwan’s significant contributions to the world in terms of achieving U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, climate change, infrastructure and technology.

“That’s why we support Taiwan, we were pleased to be there (delivering the letter),” he said.