Should Taiwan be permitted to join the United Nations?

At the end of World War II a truce among competing factions, which had been unified by their struggle against Japanese occupation, broke down.The Nationalists led by Chaing Kai-Shek and the Communists led by Mao Zedong engaged in a civil war from 1945-1049. At that point the Nationalists retreated to Taiwan.  

The Republic of China (ROC) government had fled to the island of Taiwan with millions of refugees as the Communists took power but continued to hold the seat of “China” (The People’s Republic of China (PRC)) at the UN and was a permanent member of the Security Council with veto power. Despite being exiled, officials in Taipei had the support of the US thanks to fears in the West that communism might sweep through Asia.

The ROC had promised to return by the 1970s, but by then it was clear to many UN members its government no longer represented the hundreds of millions of people living across the Taiwan Strait in the now-communist controlled PROC.

Even though they had lost the civil war, the Republic of China (Taiwan) had continued to represent all of China in the United Nations. That was about to change.

Fifty years ago on October 25, the Republic of China (ROC) – the official name for Taiwan –  was formally expelled from the United Nations by a vote of the General Assembly and replaced by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which had taken power in Beijing at the end of the country’s civil war in 1949.

The “Resolution on Admitting Peking,” also known as Resolution 2758, called for member states to “restore” the rights of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing as the “only lawful representatives of China to the United Nations.” After years of trying at the behest of Chinese ally Albania, the resolution finally passed in the General Assembly.

Since then, Resolution 2758 has become one of the most defining documents in the modern history of Taiwan.

Taiwan’s membership in the UN is controversial because China supports a “one China” policy that claims that there is only one China and that any meaningful effort by the international community to treat Taiwan as its own country will trigger an invasion of Taiwan by China in an attempt to make clear that China is one country.

Despite China’s wishes, of course, the West views China as representing freedom/democracy and a bulwark against China’s Communist expansion. Some argue that giving Taiwan a seat at the UN will support these efforts.

Why China-Taiwan Relations Are So Tense August 2022 Council on Foreign Relations

Great background on all issues relating to China-Taiwan: Reunification, military capabilities, One China Policy and the UN

Taiwan taps on United Nations’ door, 50 years after departure


US backs Taiwan’s participation in UN


*Taiwan UN membership brings needed resources and skills to the UN

*Taiwan is a Democracy success story and it should be reinforced by the UN

*Resolution 2578 does not preclude Taiwan from becoming a member

*Resolution 2578 does not include anything about a one China policy

*The Republic of China (Taiwan) has changed since the dictatorship under Chiang Kai-shek

*Taiwan was only expelled because it claimed to represent the population of mainland China – it no longer makes this claim

*Membership in the UN would help shield Taiwan from an invasion from the mainland.

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UN membership to protect Taiwan Sept 2022

Supporting Taiwan’s Participation in the UN System

Taiwan should be accepted as a real member of the UN

The Distortion of UN Resolution 2758 and Limits on Taiwan’s Access to the United Nations March 2022


*Taiwan becoming a member of the UN will lead to an invasion by China

*Taiwan needs to work on improving relations with the PRC first – and work together

*China, as a permanent member of the Security Council,  has veto power over any new member

*Resolution 2578 was about representation not participation – Taiwan still participates

*You must be an independent state to gain representation at the UN.  Taiwan is not one. 

*Taiwan’s membership would undermine US China “One China Policy”

*Taiwan has developed strong bi-lateral relations across the globe  – it doesn’t “need: the UN

*Membership might spark an invasion of Taiwan – the United States would respond and we could have a world war

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China says Taiwan has no right to join the United Nations