China insisted Wednesday that Taiwan had no right to join the United Nations, after the United States called for the democratic island to have greater involvement in the world body.
In a statement marking 50 years since the U.N. General Assembly voted to seat Beijing and boot out Taipei, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday he regretted that Taiwan had been increasingly excluded on the world stage.
“As the international community faces an unprecedented number of complex and global issues, it is critical for all stakeholders to help address these problems. This includes the 24 million people who live in Taiwan,” Blinken said.
“Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the U.N. system is not a political issue, but a pragmatic one,” he said.
“That is why we encourage all U.N. member states to join us in supporting Taiwan’s robust, meaningful participation throughout the U.N. system and in the international community.”
China considers Taiwan — where nationalist forces fled in 1949 after losing a civil war to the communists — to be a province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
It responded to Blinken’s statement with strident, albeit familiar, statements emphasizing its position that Taiwan’s government had no place on the global diplomatic stage.
“Taiwan has no right to join the United Nations,” Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing, told reporters.
“The United Nations is an international governmental organization composed of sovereign states… Taiwan is a part of China.”
The United States has long called for Taiwan’s inclusion in U.N. activities.