China and the United Nations
|Since||1945.10.24 (as ROC)
1971.10.25 (as PRC)
|Permanent Representative||Li Baodong|
|Former names||Republic of China|
On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of People's Republic of China (PRC), and the government of Republic of China relocated to Taipei after losing the Chinese Civil War. The United States and other countries opposed the admission of the PRC in UN. Therefore, the ROC in Taiwan kept its membership of UN until October 25, 1971.
The United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 2758 on Oct. 25, 1971, recognizing the People's Republic of China as the only lawful representative of China to the United Nations. Therefore, PRC took over the China membership in the United Nations, as well as the permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council. Republic of China lost its membership of United Nations and membership of the United Nations Security Council. The resolution was supported by most of the communist states including Soviet Union and the Third-world countries including India, along with some of Western European countries including United Kingdom and France.
The representatives of the PRC first attended the United Nations as representatives of China on October 25, 1971, replacing the ROC. The PRC has what is known as the "One-China policy", under which it vigorously opposes any moves seen to be endorsement of the ROC (or Taiwan) as an independent sovereign state or as a rival "China", although two Chinas effectively exist.
Republic of China has used its Security Council veto only once-to stop the admission of the Mongolian People's Republic to the United Nations in 1955 on the grounds that all of Mongolia was part of China.
As of June 2012[update], People's Republic of China had used its Security Council veto eight times, fewer than other countries with the veto: in 1972 to veto the admission of Bangladesh (which it considered a rebellious province of its ally Pakistan), in 1973 (in conjunction with the Soviet Union) to veto a resolution on the ceasefire in the Yom Kippur War, in 1997 to veto ceasefire observers to Guatemala (which accepted the ROC as legitimate), in 1999 to veto an extension of observers to the Republic of Macedonia (same), in 2007 (in conjunction with Russia) to veto criticizing Myanmar (Burma) on its human rights record, in 2008 (with Russia) to veto sanctions against Zimbabwe, in 2011 (with Russia) to veto sanctions against Syria, and in February 2012 (with Russia) to veto for the second time a draft resolution calling for foreign military intervention in Syria.
On February 1, 1951, after cease fire negotiations failed, United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 498 and called the intervention of the People's Republic of China in Korea an act of aggression.
As of June 2012[update], China had sent 3,362 military personnel to 13 UN peacekeeping operations in its first dispatch of military observers to the United Nations peacekeeping operations since military team to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Republic of China in the UN (1945-1971)
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (October 2011)|
||It has been suggested that this section be split into a new article titled Republic of China and the United Nations. (Discuss) Proposed since June 2013.|
|Membership||Former full member|
|Since - until||1945.10.24. - 1971.10.25.|
Republic of China (ROC) was a charter member of the United Nations and one of five permanent members of the Security Council until 1971. Republic of China joined the United Nations as a founding member on October 24, 1945.
The "Big Four" victors of World War II (China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States)  were the founding members of the United Nations that drafted the United Nations Charter in 1944, which was ratified on 26 June 1945 by the representatives of 50 countries. President Franklin Roosevelt had acknowledged China's war effort in World War II and stated his desire to allow China to "play its proper role in maintaining peace and prosperity" in the world. Thus, despite opposition from other leaders, especially Winston Churchill, China became a permanent member of the Security Council from its creation in 1945.
In 1949, the Communist Party of China won the Chinese Civil War in mainland China and established the People's Republic of China (PRC), claiming to be the sole legitimate government of China. The ROC government retreated to the island of Taiwan (which it gained control of in 1945 at the end of WWII), Quemoy Island, and the Matsu Islands. Until 1991, the ROC also actively claimed to be the sole legitimate government of China, and during the 1950s and 1960s this claim was accepted by the United States and most of its allies. While the PRC was an ally of the Soviet Union, the U.S. sought to prevent the Communist bloc from gaining another permanent seat in the Security Council. To protest the exclusion of the PRC, Soviet representatives boycotted the UN from January to August 1950, so they didn't veto the intervention of UN military forces in Korea.
In 1952, the ROC complained to the UN against the Soviet Union for violating the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Alliance of 14 August 1945 and the United Nations Charter. The United Nations General Assembly has found that the Soviet Union prevented the National Government of the ROC from re-establishing Chinese authority in Manchuria after Japan surrendered, and gave military and economic aid to the Chinese Communists, who founded the PRC in 1949, against the National Government of the ROC. Resolution 505 was passed to condemn the Soviet Union with 25 countries supporting, 9 countries opposing, 24 countries abstaining, and 2 countries non-voting.
The ROC used its veto only once — on 13 December 1955, to stop the admission of the Mongolian People's Republic to the United Nations on the grounds that all of Mongolia was part of China. Mongolia's application had been tabled at the UN on 24 June 1946, but had been blocked by Western countries, as part of a protracted Cold War dispute about the admission of new members to the UN. The General Assembly, by Resolution 918 (X) of 8 December 1955, had recommended to the Security Council that this dispute should be ended by the admission, in a single resolution, of a list of eighteen countries. On 14 December 1955, the Security Council adopted a compromise proposed by the Soviet Union, and the General Assembly, by Resolution 995 (X), admitted sixteen countries into UN, omitting Mongolia and Japan from the list. This postponed the admission of Mongolia until 1961, when the Soviet Union agreed to lift its veto on the admission of Mauritania, in return for the admission of Mongolia. Faced with pressure from nearly all the other African countries, the ROC relented under protest. Mongolia and Mauritania were both admitted to the UN on 27 October 1961.
From the 1960s onwards, nations friendly to the PRC, led by the People's Republic of Albania under Enver Hoxha, moved an annual resolution in the General Assembly to expel the "representatives of Chiang Kai-shek" (an implicit reference to the ROC) and permit the PRC to represent China at the UN. Every year the United States was able to assemble a majority of votes to block this resolution. But the admission of newly independent developing nations in the 1960s gradually turned the General Assembly from being Western-dominated to being dominated by countries sympathetic to Beijing.
Not only the newly founded developing countries, but also most of the Western countries became sympathetic to Beijing. During 1950s and 1960s, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, and France shifted their recognition of China, from Taipei to Beijing. In the early 1970s, Canada, Turkey, and more western countries established diplomatic relations with the PRC, and severed diplomatic relations with the ROC. In a Security Council meeting on Feb. 9, 1971, Somalia objected to the credentials of the representative of Republic of China as China representation, and ROC and the United States responded that the question of China's representation should not be dealt with in the Security Council. On October 25, 1971, Resolution 2758 was passed by the General Assembly with 76 countries supporting, 35 countries opposing, 17 countries abstaining, and 3 countries non-voting, withdrawing recognition of the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek as the legitimate representative of China, and recognizing the Government of PRC as the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations.  At a Security Council meeting on November 23 1971, after the General Assembly passed Resolution 2758, the President of the Council and the other representatives made statements welcoming the representatives of the People's Republic of China. The ROC lost not only its Security Council seat, but any representation in the UN.
Before voting on Resolution 2758, United States motioned for a separate vote on the provision in the resolution whereby the Assembly would expel the representatives of ROC, and the motion was defeated by a recorded vote of 61 against to 51 in favor, with 16 abstentions. Thereupon, the representative of ROC made a declaration to the following effect: The rejection of the 22-power draft resolution calling for a two-thirds majority was a flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter which governed the expulsion of Member States. The delegation of the Republic of China had decided not to take part in any further proceedings of the General Assembly.
Eventually, the Republic of China is no longer represented by a Permanent Representative at the UN. Since 1991, the Republic of China has re-applied for UN membership to represent the people of Taiwan Area and its outlying islands only, under such names as "The Republic of China (Taiwan)", "The Republic of China on Taiwan", "Taiwan (R.O.C)", and most recently (in July 2007, under DPP President Chen Shui-bian) as simply "Taiwan". The ROC has also requested that the UN consider the issue of its representation in other ways, such as granting it status as a "non-member entity", a position formerly held by Palestine. Because of the opposition of the PRC which is backed by the majority of UN member-states which follow the One-China policy advocated by the PRC, all such applications have been denied. The ROC continues to call on the international body to grant it standing, claiming the right to represent the 23 million people of Taiwan against the claim of the PRC to represent its de facto territory and Taiwan, or in its related international affiliates (except, the World Health Assembly which the ROC has participated in as an observer under the name Chinese Taipei since 2009 on an "annual-invite basis").
...membership into the UN ultimately needs to be decided by the Member States of the United Nations. Membership is given to a sovereign country. The position of the United Nations is that the People's Republic of China is representing the whole of China as the sole and legitimate representative Government of China. The decision until now about the wish of the people in Taiwan to join the United Nations has been decided on that basis. The resolution that you just mentioned is clearly mentioning that the Government of China is the sole and legitimate Government and the position of the United Nations is that Taiwan is part of China.
Ban Ki-moon came under fire for this statement from the ROC and, it is speculated, also via non-official channels from the US. The ROC stated that Resolution 2758 merely transferred the UN seat from the ROC to the PRC, but did not address the issue of Taiwan's representation in the UN. The ROC emphasized that the PRC government has never held jurisdiction over Taiwan and that the United Nations has never taken a formal stance regarding the sovereignty of Taiwan. There are unconfirmed reports that Ban's comments prompted the US to restate its position regarding the status of Taiwan. A Heritage Foundation article suggests that the US may have presented a démarche stating among others that:
If the UN Secretariat insists on describing Taiwan as a part of the PRC, or on using nomenclature for Taiwan that implies such status, the United States will be obliged to disassociate itself on a national basis from such position."
The Wall Street Journal has criticized Ban Ki-moon for rejecting the ROC's July 2007 application and regarded Ban's interpretation of Resolution 2758 (that Taiwan was part of China) as erroneous. Nevertheless, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's statement reflected long-standing UN convention and is mirrored in other documents promulgated by the United Nations. For example, the UN's "Final Clauses of Multilateral Treaties, Handbook", 2003 (a publication which predated his tenure in Office) states:
[r]egarding the Taiwan Province of China, the Secretary-General follows the General Assembly’s guidance incorporated in resolution 2758 (XXVI)of the General Assembly of 25 October 1971 on the restoration of the lawful rights of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations. The General Assembly decided to recognize the representatives of the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations. Hence, instruments received from the Taiwan Province of China will not be accepted by the Secretary-General in his capacity as depositary.
Efforts to reintroduce the ROC to the UN
From 1993 to 2008 Taiwan (the Republic of China, ROC) made attempts to rejoin (or, as worded in its proposals, "to participate in") the UN, but because of the implacable opposition of China (the People's Republic of China, PRC), backed by a majority of UN member states (which adhere to One China policies), the UN always voted against the proposal.
The Republic of China still claims to be the government of the whole of China, but does not actively assert the claim. Taiwan independence supporters say that the non-assertion of the claim is mainly due to the PRC having publicly stated that any movement to change the ROC constitution would be seen as a move towards declaring independence, and thus a reason for military action. Given the PRC's attitude, even having the General Assembly admit the ROC or "Taiwan" as an observer, as with Palestine, would be problematic; the case of Palestine is different from that of the ROC because of the UN's commitment to a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict but not for the Taiwan issue.
From 1991 until 2008 the question of the ROC's representation was raised on the UN agenda committee by its diplomatic allies, but always failed to get sufficient votes to get on the formal agenda.
The ROC reapplied for full UN membership on September 18, 2007. On September 15, 2007, over 3000 Taiwanese Americans and their supporters rallied in front of the UN building in New York City, and over 300,000 Taiwanese people rallied in Taiwan, in support of the ROC's joining the UN. The ROC has also won the backing of many Members of the European Parliament on this issue.
In 2008 two referendums by the ROC to support joining the UN failed because of low voter participation. The United Nations subcommittee on September 17, 2008, once again ruled it would not let the General Assembly consider the ROC's application to join U.N. activities. Shortly after this the United States and the European Union both expressed their support for "Taiwan" (neither recognises the ROC) to have "meaningful participation" in UN agencies that do not require statehood, such as the World Health Organization.
From 2009, for the first time in 17 years, the ROC did not submit bids to become a member of the United Nations.
People's Republic of China in the UN (1971-present)
The People's Republic of China (PRC), commonly referred as China, was admitted into the UN in 1971. This was the 21st time there was a vote on the PRC's admittance. The PRC was admitted into the UN on a vote of 76 in favor, 35 opposed, and 17 abstentions.
There was wide speculation throughout the 1960s and early 1970s that the United States' close ally, Pakistan, especially under the presidency of Ayub Khan, was carrying out undercover diplomacy to instigate Western support to the PRC's entry into the UN. This involved secret visits by American officials to the PRC. In 1971, Henry Kissinger made a secret visit to the PRC through Pakistan.
Since the early 1980s, and particularly since 1989, by means of vigorous monitoring and the strict maintenance of standards, United Nations human rights organizations have encouraged China to move away from its insistence on the principle of noninterference, to take part in resolutions critical of human rights conditions in other nations, and to accept the applicability to itself of human rights norms and UN procedures. Even though China has continued to suppress political dissidents at home, and appears at times resolutely defiant of outside pressure to reform, Ann Kent argues that it has gradually begun to implement some international human rights standards. On human rights issues, the PRC has been increasingly influential. In 1995, they won 43 percent of the votes in the General Assembly; by 2006 they won 82 percent.
Since the end of the Cold War, China has notably not attempted to use the UN as a counterbalance against the United States as Russia and France have done. In the 1991 Gulf War resolution, the PRC abstained, and it voted for the ultimatum to Iraq in the period leading up to the 2003 War in Iraq. Most observers believe that the PRC would have abstained had a resolution authorising force against Iraq in 2003 reached the Security Council.
When an enlargement of the Security Council was discussed in 1995, China encouraged African states to demand their seats as a countermove to Japan's ambitions, thereby killing the initiative.
- One-China policy
- United Nations Security Council Verbatim Report meeting 3730 on 10 January 1997 (retrieved 2007-07-27 page=17)
- United Nations Security Council meeting 3982 on 25 February 1999 (retrieved 2007-07-27)
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: China and the United Nations|
- 1998 Proposal for ROC membership
- 2001 Proposal for ROC membership
- Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations
- "The UN Issue: MOFA adopts a new strategy of 'Presenting Two proposals'"—from Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs