GENERAL COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS AGENDA FOR
FIFTY-EIGHTH SESSION TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Decides Not to Recommend Inclusion of Item on “Representation of the
Republic of China (Taiwan)” after Hearing 104 Speakers
NEW YORK, 17 September (UN Headquarters) -- In two meetings today, the General Committee of the fifty-eighth General Assembly recommended the inclusion of 158 items on the Assembly’s agenda for the session. The Committee recommended that the Assembly’s current session recess on Tuesday, 16 December and close on Monday, 13 September 2004.
After considering a number of items, both new and traditional, the Committee made recommendations concerning the dates by which the Assembly’s substantive Committees should complete their work and allocated various items to those bodies.
Over 100 speakers took the floor during a lengthy debate on what the Gambian representative referred to as a perennial “sore thumb” issue -- once again rejected from inclusion on the agenda -- the question of equitable representation of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the United Nations.
Introducing that item, he went on to say that although an important player on the world stage, Taiwan had been excluded from all international arrangements except the World Trade Organization. Yet, no government could claim to represent Taiwan in international forums except the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Not allowing the 23 million inhabitants of Taiwan to take their rightful place among the comity of nations was discriminatory and had no substantive basis.
Urging delegations to reject the item, the representative of China declared the notion of “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan” not only a gross violation of the United Nations Charter, but a brazen challenge to the international community’s widely held perception of one China. “There is but one China in the world”, he said, “both the mainland and Taiwan are part of that one and the same China, and China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no division.” He added that the Chinese Government would continue to work for the peaceful resolution of the Taiwan question on the basis of the one-China principle.
Delegations speaking in favour of representation for the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the United Nations adhered to the view that it was the only legitimate representative of the Taiwanese people. It was sovereign, democratically elected and peace-loving. Moreover, the Republic of China had been recognized as a founding Member of the United Nations until the adoption of Resolution 2758 of 1971, and even that resolution did not prohibit Taiwan from being seated at the Organization.
Delegations supporting the one-China principle expressed strong support for efforts to safeguard State sovereignty and territorial integrity. They believed that the item should not be included on the current agenda since the issue had been resolved by Assembly resolution 2758, which held that the Government of the People’s Republic of China was the sole legitimate representative of the people of China.
Noting that the issue had been debated in the Committee for a dozen years or more, the representative of Egypt recalled the Assembly’s rules of procedure, which held that any item rejected from inclusion for three consecutive years be dropped altogether.
Also speaking in favour of the item’s inclusion on the agenda of the General Assembly were the representatives of Chad, Sao Tome and Principe, Marshall Islands, Paraguay, Swaziland, Belize, Solomon Islands, Costa Rica, Palau, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Dominican Republic, Tuvalu, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Malawi, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Dominica.
Also speaking against the inclusion of the item were the representatives of Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Russian Federation, Bangladesh, Argentina, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cyprus, Guinea, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Djibouti, Jamaica, Egypt, Mauritius, Laos, Syria, Morocco, Chile, Venezuela, Spain, Republic of the Congo, Tajikistan, Iran, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Serbia and Montenegro, Myanmar, Angola, Sudan, Nepal, Algeria, Ethiopia, and Yemen.
Others opposing inclusion of the item, were Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Afghanistan, Mexico, South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, Greece, Sierra Leone, Brazil, Tunisia, Lebanon, Republic of Moldova, United Republic of Tanzania, Belarus, Panama, Lesotho, Ukraine, Indonesia, Georgia, Zambia, Timor-Leste, Saint Lucia, Gabon, Namibia, Cambodia, Cuba, Mongolia, Romania, Azerbaijan, Madagascar, Mauritania, Malta, Guyana, Zimbabwe, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Netherlands, Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde, Uganda, Libya, Benin, Comoros, and Pakistan.
Furthermore, the representatives of the United Kingdom, France and Haiti supported the need for dialogue, with a view to a peaceful settlement of the issue, between the two parties involved, while the representative of Guatemala explained that while his country valued its ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan), Guatemala also recognized Resolution 2758 of 1971.
Also today, the Committee held another extended discussion related to the inclusion of a new item, “the International Year of Sport and Physical Education,” following which, the issue was initially postponed for later consideration. However, following mid-day informal consultations, delegations agreed to amend item 23 of the Assembly’s proposed agenda to become “Sport for peace and development”. That new item would now include two sub-items: (a) “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”; and (b) “International Year of Sport and Physical Education”.
Introducing the item, the Tunisia’s representative said that among its other attendant benefits, physical education and sports promoted improved health, physical development, social cohesion and tolerance. Convinced of its importance, the supporters of the item were determined to see sport take its rightful place in educational systems. Echoing his sentiments were the representatives of Bangladesh, Switzerland, Lebanon, Yemen, Cuba, Algeria, Morocco (on behalf of the Group of 77), Senegal, Iran, Egypt, Madagascar and Cameroon.
While fully supporting the importance of physical education and sport, the representative of the Netherlands questioned whether the item proposed by Tunisia could not be better dealt with through inclusion in the existing item on “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”, rather than the creation of a new item. Endorsing this statement were the representatives of the United Kingdom, Czech Republic and Finland.
In other action today, the Committee decided to postpone consideration of the inclusion of the item on the “Question of the Comorian island of Mayotte” to a later date. Following proposals by the representatives of Senegal and Luxembourg, the Committee decided to defer consideration of the item, “Question of the Malagasy islands of Glorieuses, Juan de Nova, Europa and Bassas da India” until next year.
Among the new items recommended by the Committee for inclusion were those related to Observer status for the Eurasian Economic Community; GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Republic of Moldova); and the East African Community in the General Assembly. The Committee referred those items to the Sixth Committee (Legal).
Another new item, proposed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the financing of the United Nations Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (MINUCI), was also recommended for inclusion on the Assembly’s agenda. The Security Council authorized that Mission last May to help guide the country’s fledgling transitional government and assist with proposed elections in 2005. That item was referred to the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).
As for the Assembly’s substantive Committees, the General Committee recommended that during the main part of the fifty-eighth session, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), and Sixth Committee (Legal), should all complete their work by 7 November; the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) by 21 November and the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) by 9 December.
In addition, the Committee decided to allocate consideration of the item on “Strengthening of the United Nations system” to the Fifth Committee, for the sole purpose of considering two reports of the Secretary-General on planning and budgeting, and reviewing the mid-term programme budget. A further item related to the “Administration of justice at the United Nations” was allocated by the Committee to both the Fifth and Sixth Committees.
A memorandum on the organization of the Assembly’s fifty-eighth regular session is contained in document A/BUR/58/1 dated 26 August 2003.
The General Committee will meet again at a time to be announced.
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