Taiwan, US discuss UN participation ahead of key anniversary

Taiwan, using its formal name the Republic of China, held the Chinese seat at the UN until Oct 25, 1971. PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI (REUTERS) - Taiwanese and United States officials have discussed how Taiwan can "meaningfully" participate at the United Nations (UN) just days before Chinese President Xi Jinping will give a speech to mark his country's half decade since joining the global body.

Taiwan, using its formal name the Republic of China, held the Chinese seat at the UN until Oct 25, 1971, when it was voted out as representative of the country in favour of the People's Republic of China, which had won a civil war in 1949 and forced the republican government to flee to the island.

China says that Taiwan is one of its provinces, and so it has the sole right to represent Taiwan internationally. The democratically elected government in Taipei says only it has that right.

In a statement late on Saturday (Oct 23), the US State Department said US and Taiwanese officials had met virtually on Friday for a "discussion focused on supporting Taiwan's ability to participate meaningfully at the UN".

"US participants reiterated the US commitment to Taiwan's meaningful participation at the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and discussed ways to highlight Taiwan's ability to contribute to efforts on a wide range of issues," it added.

Participants included State Department Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organisations Hugo Yon, Deputy Assistant Secretary for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia Rick Waters, and Taiwan's deputy de facto ambassador in Washington Wang Liang-yu, the State Department said.

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry thanked the US for its "firm support".

President Xi is due to speak on the 50th anniversary on Monday of what China calls the restoration of its lawful seat at the UN.

Taiwan has been particularly angered by its inability to fully access the WHO during the Covid-19 pandemic, though both China and the WHO say the island has been given the help it has needed.

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