US congressman's bill calls for Taiwan membership in UN

Bill aims to scrap 'one China' policy, open door for Taiwan's diplomatic recognition and UN membership

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(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — On the heels of a "historic" meeting between the U.S. envoy to the U.N. and a senior Taiwan official on Wednesday (Sept. 16), a U.S. congressman introduced a bill calling for Taiwan's return to the intergovernmental organization.

On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft met for lunch with James K.J. Lee, director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York at an eatery in Manhattan. This marked the first meeting between a high-level Taiwan official and a U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

The same day, U.S. Congressman Tom Tiffany introduced a bill calling on the U.S. to put an end to the "one China" policy, resume formal relations with Taiwan, and begin negotiations on a U.S.-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement. Also included in the bill was a clause urging the U.S. to support Taiwan's re-entry into the U.N.

Taiwan was a founding member of the U.N. in 1949, but was expelled from the organization in 1971 after China was admitted as a member. The country was subsequently removed from all U.N. organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1972.

In a press release posted on Thursday (Sept. 17), Tiffany pointed out that before 1979, the U.S. and Taiwan continued to maintain normal and friendly diplomatic relations. However, then U.S. President Jimmy Carter suddenly broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan "without legislative approval" and instead opted to recognize the communist regime in Beijing.

Tiffany stated relations between Taiwan and the U.S. were repaired somewhat with Congress' passage of the "Taiwan Relations Act" (TRA) and former President Ronald Reagan issuance of the "Six Assurances." However, he pointed out the U.S. still does not formally recognize Taiwan and is "inexplicably treating" Taiwan’s democratically elected government in the same way it treats the "brutal regimes" in North Korea and Iran.

Based on the text of the Concurrent Resolution submitted by Tiffany's office to Taiwan News, the sense of Congress is the U.S. should resume formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, rescind restrictions on normal exchanges between the two countries, negotiate and sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and advocate for Taiwan's membership in the United Nations and other international organizations.

In 1971, U.N. Resolution 2758 excluded Taiwan from the organization under the premise that China is the only "the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations."

In 2007, the U.N. rejected the country's bid to "join the U.N. under the name of Taiwan," as it continued to cling to the notion that "Taiwan is part of China." In Tiffany's press release, he wrote, "Now is the time for America to stop parroting Beijing’s ‘one China’ fantasy, and for U.S. policy to reflect the reality that Taiwan is a free, democratic and independent country."

If the U.S. was to finally end its adherence to Beijing's "one China" policy, it would open the door for formal diplomatic recognition of Taiwan and strengthen its case on entering the U.N. as a separate entity. Tiffany's bill is in line with the Trump administration's policy of supporting Taiwan's inclusion in international organizations such as the WHO and International Civil Aviation Organization.