United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 of 25 October 1971 recognized the representatives of the People's Republic of China (PRC) as "the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations" and expelled the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek "from the place which they unlawfully occupy at the United Nations".UN document |docid=A-RES-2758(XXVI) |type=Resolution |body=General Assembly |session=26 |resolution_number=2758 |highlight=rect_485,223_914,684 |page=1 |accessdate=2008-10-07|date=25 October 1971|title=Restoration of the lawful rights of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations]


The Chinese Civil War resulted in 1949 with the Communists in control of mainland China and the Nationalists in control of the island of Taiwan. The Communists declared the People's Republic of China (PRC) as the successor state of the Republic of China (ROC), while the Nationalists championed the continued existence of the Republic of China as the sole legitimate Chinese government. In the context of the Cold War, both sides claimed to be the only legitimate Chinese government, and each side refused to maintain diplomatic relations with countries that officially recognized the other side.

[http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Charter_of_the_United_Nations#Article_3 Article 3] of the UN Charter provides::"The original Members of the United Nations shall be the states which, having participated in the United Nations Conference on International Organization at San Francisco, or having previously signed the Declaration by United Nations of 1 January 1942, sign the present Charter and ratify it in accordance with Article 110."

On 15 July 1971, 17 UN members requested that a question of the "Restoration of the lawful rights of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations" be placed on the provisional agenda of the twenty-sixth session of the UN General Assembly, claiming that the PRC, a "founding member of the United Nations and a permanent member of the Security Council, had since 1949 been refused by systematic maneuvers the right to occupy the seat to which it is entitled ipso jure".

On 25 September 1971, a draft resolution, A/L.630 and Add.l and 2 was submitted by 23 states, including 17 of the states which had joined in placing the question on the agenda, to "restore to the People's Republic of China all its rights and expel forthwith the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek."

On 29 September 1971, another draft resolution, A/L.632 and Add.l and 2, sponsored by 22 members, was proposed declaring that any proposal to deprive the Republic of China of representation was an important question under [http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Charter_of_the_United_Nations#Article_18 Article 18] of the UN Charter, and thus would require a two-thirds supermajority for approval. A/L.632 and Add.l and 2 was rejected on 25 October 1971 by a vote of 59 to 55, with 15 abstentions.

On 25 October 1971, the United States moved that a separate vote be taken on the words "and to expel forthwith the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek from the place which they unlawfully occupied at the United Nations and in all the organizations related to it" in the draft resolution. This motion would have allowed the PRC to join the UN as China's representative, while allowing the ROC to remain a regular UN member (if there had been enough votes for it). The motion was rejected by a vote of 61 to 51, with 16 abstentions. The representative of the Republic of China stated that the rejection of draft resolution A/L.632 and Add. l and 2 calling for a two-thirds majority was a flagrant violation of the Charter which governed the expulsion of Member States and that the delegation of the Republic of China had decided not to take part in any further proceedings of the General Assembly. The Assembly then adopted draft resolution A/L. 630 and Add.l and 2, by a roll-call vote of 76 to 35, with 17 abstentions, as Resolution 2758. The important question motion failed and the Albanian motion then came to the floor and passed. ROC ambassador to the UN, Liu Chieh, then withdrew and after that the PRC ambassador to the UN, Qiao Guanhua and the delegation entered the hall. According to the One China policy, the ROC is no longer represented in the UN and the UN recognizes the PRC as the legal government to represent China.

In the UN Charter, the ROC, like the USSR, is still listed, but it does not mean that the legality of the Resolution 2758 is under question, because the PRC, like Russia, is a successor state, and it is an original member.

On 23 July 2007, the UN Secretary general Ban Ki-moon rejected Taiwan's membership bid to “join the UN under the name of Taiwan” citing Resolution 2758 as acknowledging that Taiwan is part of China. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6913020.stm News.bbc.co.uk 2007] ] Since Resolution 2758 makes no mention of Taiwan, his interpretation to this effect came under fire from both the media ("King of the UN," Wall Street Journal) and from the US government. [ [http://www.taiwandc.org/wsj-2007-02.htm Wall Street Journal Commentary] , August 13, 2007]


Some viewpoints assert that Resolution 2758 has solved the issue of China's representation in the United Nations, but left the issue of Taiwan's representation unresolved in a practical sense. The ROC government continues to exercise sovereignty over Taiwan and surrounding islands. While the PRC claims sovereignty over the whole China including Taiwan islands, it does not, nor ever has, exercised it. The ROC government claims sovereignty over the Chinese Mainland until recently but its present policy seeks to represent the area it controls in diplomatic matters. The ROC's legal status in contemporary times somewhat mirrors that of the PRC pre-1971.

The Resolution has been criticized as illegal by the Republic of China government, since expulsion of a member requires the recommendation of the Security Council and can only occur if a nation "has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter," according [http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Charter_of_the_United_Nations#Article_6 Article 6] .

The Government Information Office of the Republic of China asserts::"So flawed is this Resolution that only its effective repeal by the General Assembly can provide any hope of expunging the stain on the U.N.’s escutcheon in the international system. Taiwan partially adopted this strategy, and attempted to begin a debate on the repeal of Resolution 2758 during the Fifty-Second General Assembly. Although turned aside in 1997 by the P.R.C.’s energetic diplomatic lobbying, the issue of the R.O.C.’s status at the U.N. will not disappear." [ [http://www.aei.org/publications/pubID.16557,filter.all/pub_detail.asp New Directions for the Chen Administration on Taiwanese Representation in the United Nations] . July 1, 2000. American Enterprise Institute. URL Accessed June 26, 2006] Attempts have been made to get a review of Resolution 2758 onto the agenda with a proposal noting that "as to its return to the United Nations, the Government has made it clear that it no longer claims to represent all of China, but that it seeks representation only for its 21.8 million people".UN document |docid=A-53-145 |type=Document |body=General Assembly |session=53 |document_number=145 |accessdate=2008-10-07|title=Request for the inclusion of an item in the provisional agenda of the fifty-third session - Need to review General Assembly resolution 2758 (XXVI) of 25 October 1971 owing to the fundamental change in the international situation and to the coexistence of two Governments across the Taiwan Strait|date=8 July 1998] Recent actions by the Taiwanese government to apply for membership under the name "Taiwan" highlight this intention (www.taiwanunme.tw).

According to the [http://www.un.org/Overview/growth.htm UN website] , "no member state has ever been expelled from UN since its inception". From the viewpoint of the UN, the change of the representation of China in the UN only reflected the de facto government change after the Chinese civil war. The representative right of China as a member state has never been expelled out of the UN, and what was expelled were only the unqualified representatives of China, at the same time the UN accepted the qualified ones from the government PRC as the legal representative China.

Supporters of ROC admission to the UN argue that the resolution only asserts that the PRC is the legitimate government of China, but makes no mention of the ROC being an illegitimate government, nor of which (if either) is the legitimate ruler of the island of Taiwan, Kinmen, Matsu, and the Pescadores.

Opponents of ROC admission to the UN argue that the PRC is the sole legitimate government of China with Taiwan islands as part of it. The representation of Taiwan islands is already included in Chinese representation in the UN. However, since in reality the PRC holds no jurisdiction over Taiwan, this interpretation is controversial.

From the viewpoint of the PRC, the PRC is the legitimate ruler of China, which it interprets to include Taiwan, Kinmen, Matsu, and Penghu.

The Taiwanese government and its supporters argue that Resolution 2758 merely transfers the China seat from the ROC to the PRC, but leaves the issue of Taiwan's representation, as well as its sovereignty, unresolved.


ee also

*China and the United Nations
*United Nations General Assembly Resolution 505

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