TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Director General of the Taiwan United Nations Alliance (TAIUNA) Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) said yesterday (Nov. 27) that independent political alliances will work together to push for a referendum on joining the UN in 2020.
Liberty Times reports that Tsai, a former DPP Defense Minister, expressed that the rejection of the Team Taiwan referendum last Saturday was a blow to Taiwan’s chances of gaining UN membership, but TAIUNA will continue to organize activities to encourage citizens to urge the government to make a bid. He said TAIUNA will be working with other independent groups on a referendum proposal for the 2020 national elections.
At a forum yesterday, Tsai blamed the failure of the Team Taiwan referendum to gain majority support on a lack of DPP mobilization. He commented that members of the KMT were much more explicit with their views on the referendum, but no DPP members from Tsai Ing-wen downwards had the tenacity to mobilize voters.
Tsai added that even when voters asked DPP legislators for their opinions on the referendum, they were reluctant to be forthright. The politician said the Team Taiwan referendum was lucky to gain even 4 million votes of support with no official backing.
Tsai said the result gave TAIUNA more reason to push for a UN membership referendum in 2020. He stressed, however, that the methods used to promote the referendum, disseminate information on it, and mobilize voters would be different to those employed prior to the vote on Team Taiwan this year.
Taiwan held two referendums on applying for UN membership during the 2008 national elections. One was initiated by DPP members and asked whether Taiwan should join the UN under the name “Taiwan.” The other, supported by the KMT, asked whether Taiwan should join the UN and other international bodies via “flexible and practical strategies” including potentially using the name “Republic of China.”
Both passed, with a respective 94.01 and 87.27 percent of the vote, but after Ma Ying-jeou took power, Taiwan did not apply for UN membership in 2008.
The country did seek to take part in unspecified “UN activities” in the same year, but the request was dismissed by a UN subcommittee before it even reached the General Assembly.