Taiwan officials to attend events in New York during UN assembly

MOFA: Environmental Protection Administration Deputy Minister Thomas Chan, and Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang will attend UN related events in New York

  1022
UN General assembly

UN General assembly (By Associated Press)

Two Taiwanese Cabinet officials will attend a series of events in New York during the United Nations' annual assembly to lobby for international support for Taiwan's inclusion in U.N.-related events, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Sunday.

The 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly will open Sept. 18 at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, with the annual general debate scheduled for Sept. 25 to Oct. 1.

In a press release, MOFA said Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Deputy Minister Thomas Chan (詹順貴) and Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) will fly to New York to attend seminars and other events to promote Taiwan's achievement of the U.N. sustainable development goals (SDGs) even though it is not a U.N. member.

On Sept. 18, Chan will give briefings on Taiwan's accomplishments over the past year in meeting the SDGs, at a seminar jointly organized by Taiwan's representative office in New York, the Marshall Islands government and Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society, MOFA said.

He will also attend the opening ceremony of the Creative Climate Awards, an annual series of events that showcases the climate-inspired public works and actions of artists, which will be held Sept. 17 by the city's NGO Human Impacts Institute.

Tang, meanwhile, will give a speech on Sept. 20 at a digital forum jointly organized by Taiwan's representative office in New York and Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs on how Taiwan is using digital technology and social innovative measures to put SDGs into practice, the ministry said.

The day after, she will join Daniel Russel, former U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, in a discussion at a seminar on digital governing, which will be held by the Asia Society, MOFA said.

While in New York, Tang will also meet with Taiwanese youths based there, the ministry said.

It said four Taiwanese lawmakers are also scheduled to visit New York during the U.N. general assembly to rally U.S. Congress support for Taiwan's participation in U.N.-related events.

The four legislators are Lin Ching-yi (林靜儀), Lee Li-feng (李麗芬) and Chen Man-li (陳曼麗) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) of the opposition New Power Party, according to the ministry.

The New York visits by the officials are part of the Taiwan government's push for greater participation in the U.N. this year and are meant to ensure the nation's voice is heard internationally, MOFA said.

The ministry said last month that Taiwan would maintain an approach of not actively seeking for U.N. membership but instead would call for meaningful participation in the international organization.

Deputy Foreign Minister Kelly Hsieh (謝武樵) said that as in previous years, the government would ask its diplomatic allies to speak on its behalf in the U.N. general debate.

"Taiwan's government has asked its allies' permanent representatives to the U.N. to write to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, urging him to resolve the long-standing issue of the exclusion of Taiwan's 23 million people from the U.N., in accordance with the spirit of the U.N. Charter and to uphold the principles of fairness and justice," Hsieh said.

Taiwan has also asked the U.N. not to deny Taiwanese access to U.N. meetings and activities, or deny Taiwan's journalists the equal right to cover U.N. events.

Taiwan lost its U.N. membership in 1971, following the passage of a resolution stating that the People's Republic of China was the only legitimate representative of China at the international body.

In 1993, Taiwan's government launched an unsuccessful campaign to reclaim the U.N. seat.

In 2007, during the administration of DPP 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 2008-2016, the government did not apply to re-enter the U.N. under the name Republic of China or apply for new U.N. membership as Taiwan, deciding instead to focus on achieving more meaningful participation in U.N.-affiliated organizations.

Since coming to 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 Taiwan's diplomatic allies to speak at the U.N. General Assembly in support of more "meaningful participation" in the U.N. by Taiwan.