US urges more inclusion for Taiwan at UN

Washington (AFP) – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday urged United Nations member states to include Taiwan in more UN institutions, despite opposition from China.


"Taiwan has not been permitted to contribute to UN efforts," Blinken said in a statement. "We encourage all UN member states to join us in supporting Taiwan's robust, meaningful participation throughout the UN system and in the international community."

Blinken pointed to Taiwan's exclusion from meetings associated with the International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Health Organization.

He noted that Taiwan was hailed for its "world-class" response to Covid-19 and that tens of millions of passengers go through the island's airports each year.

"Taiwan has become a democratic success story," Blinken said. "We are among the many UN member states who view Taiwan as a valued partner and trusted friend."

Blinken's statement reiterates longstanding US policy but comes amid heightened tensions over Taiwan, with Beijing earlier this month making a record number of incursions near the island.

President Joe Biden last week also said that the United States was ready to defend Taiwan from any Chinese invasion, comments quickly walked back by the White House amid warnings from China.

China considers Taiwan -- where the mainland's defeated nationalists fled in 1949 -- to be a province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

President Xi Jinping has taken a more nationalistic tone, raising fears that talk of an invasion is increasingly not hypothetical.

The United States switched recognition in 1979 to Beijing, and Blinken in his statement reiterated that the United States retains a one-China policy.

Under the Taiwan Relations Act passed by Congress during the switch of recognition, the United States is required to provide weapons to Taiwan for its self-defense although it is ambiguous on whether Washington would intervene militarily if China attacks.

China, which wields veto power at the Security Council, routinely exercises its weight to prevent any semblance of UN legitimacy for Taiwan.

Only 14 nations, all in the developing world, and the Vatican maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan.