Taiwan submits bid to join UN under own name.
Taiwan, formally recognized as the Republic of China, has been trying to join the United Nations for decades. The Taiwanese KMT government had been the sole representation for all of China in the UN until 1971. Since that time, representation has solely rested with Mainland China (People’s Republic of China).
In resent years, Taiwan has stopped claiming to be the legitimate government for all of China and has focused on areas already in their control. This has led to increasing calls for independence from the PRC.
This is the first time Taiwan has attempted to gain UN recognition as “Taiwan” rather than the “Republic of China.” To do so is thought to be a significant step toward independence.
From the perspective of Mainland China, this would be like the state of Texas telling Washington “screw you guys, we are our own country.”
The US has long provided advanced weapons to Taiwan for defense (from Chinese invasion) and remained ambiguous about coming to Taiwan’s defense. This is largely a cautious strategy to allow relations with both China and Taiwan and maintain stability. With both side unsure of US commitment, both have been unwilling to take drastic steps to resolve the issue.
In 2005, Beijing passed a law threatening the use of force if Taiwan ever declared it was formally breaking off from the mainland.
Beijing regards the use of the Taiwan name in the U.N. bid as a step toward formalizing the island’s de facto independence.
It is unlikely that Taiwan’s bid to join the United Nations will be accepted. Today, only 25 countries recognize Taiwan’s legitimacy. However, if Taiwan is granted a seat in the UN or makes too much progress toward independence it faces a tough road ahead.
According to a 2005 Pentagon report to congress China has deployed 650 to 730 mobile short range ballistic missiles in garrisons opposite Taiwan, and is adding to them at a rate of about 100 missiles a year. Newer versions of the missiles have improved range and accuracy.
‘The cross-Strait military balance appears to be shifting toward Beijing as a result of China’s sustained economic growth, growing diplomatic leverage, and improvements in the PLA’s military capabilities,’ the report said.
In the 2007 version of the same report, the pentagon said more than 700 aircraft could conduct combat operations against Taiwan without refueling. This number includes 275 bomber aircraft and 425 fighters. Chinese Ground forces out number Taiwanese approximately 3 to 1 in the straits area alone!