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Righting a Wrong: Taiwan, the United Nations, and United States Policy

(A pro-Taiwan protester holds a flag during a demonstration outside of the United Nations offices. Source: “Fabrice Coffrini” / “Getty Images.”)

By: Michael Mazza and Gary Schmitt |

Fifty years ago, on October 25, 1970, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 2758, which expelled “the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek” from the United Nations (UN) and gave the Republic of China’s seat to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). For several years now, the UN has misread the resolution as meaning that Taiwan is a province of the PRC. Neither the resolution nor the UN Charter empowers the UN Secretary-General to make this determination. Quite to the contrary, as Michael Mazza and Gary Schmitt demonstrate in this report marking the 50th anniversary of Resolution 2758, Taiwan’s participation in the UN system would be in accord with international law and the interests of a globalized world. Absent greater flexibility from Beijing regarding Taiwan’s engagement with the UN, the authors argue, the United States should launch a full court press to achieve Taiwan’s formal membership.