Leaders from several nations in the Pacific Islands have advised the United Nations General Assembly that Taiwan should be able to participate fully in the United Nations and the World Health Organization.
China continues to oppose Taiwan’s commitment as an equal partner to the United Nations or WHO, but the four Micronesian countries, which are Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic allies in the Pacific, say it is time to do so.
The presidents of Nauru, Marshall Islands and Palau – the latter two videolinked prior to the meeting – devoted significant portions of their speeches to highlighting the valuable aid Taiwan has given them.
For these three countries, as well as Tuvalu, Taiwan’s support has helped them remain largely Covid-19 free.
Nauru President Lionel Aingimea urged the UN to ensure that Taiwan’s people enjoy the same rights as other nations.
“The United Nations must live up to its ideals of universality and equality and respect the worth of everyone,” he said.
â€œTaiwan is an important part of the global response to this pandemic, and its exemplary response to the global pandemic should not be ignored.
“Taiwan stands ready to share its experience and aims to do so by joining the World Health Assembly.”
Aingimea’s call echoed comments from his colleagues in Palau and Marshall Islands, Surangel Whipps Jr. and David Kabua, at the gathering.
Kabua called on the UN to end the “shameful silence” about Taiwan’s exclusion from the UN system.
â€œAs a people-centered institution, the UN cannot ignore the Taiwanese people or continue to use their nationality to exclude them from attending public gatherings or public tours at their headquarters. The shameful silence must come to an end, â€said Kabua.
“The democratic government of Taiwan should be able to participate in the UN system with equality and dignity,” said Kabua, adding that this is the case for WHO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Micronesian leaders address the climate crisis
In their addresses to the UN General Assembly, the Micronesian heads of state and government also called for global cooperation to ensure not only a resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, but also urgent measures to contain climate change.
Whipps urged the global community to meet the climate crisis with the urgency it has shown in responding to the pandemic.
The Palau leader highlighted the effects of climate change by citing typhoons, sea level rise and droughts, saying they were ever detrimental to the food security and health of his people
“Put simply, we must act now to ensure our children have a healthy and reliable future. We must act now before further irreparable damage is done to our planet.”
“The gradual destruction of climate change has allowed us to be complacent and mostly to respond with a kick in the can. Ladies and gentlemen, however, the IPCC report has shown that we are running out of time.”