Wednesday, December 05, 2012

After Palestine, could it be Taiwan?

Palestinians in Hebron await news of the UN bid
While the Palestine issue is not a perfect analogy for Taiwan, the recent success of Palestinians at the UN can serve as an inspiration 

Last week’s vote at the UN General Assembly to make Palestine a “non-member observer state” was a rare bit of good news from a region that often provides more than its share of misery. Besides breathing new life into the possibility of a two-state solution, the decision could also create a precedent for another seemingly intractable conflict of equal duration, that of Taiwan’s status vis-a-vis China. 

Palestine’s journey from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” was not easy, nor was it uncontroversial. Furthermore, this new status, which is now equal to that of the Vatican, does not resolve a number of substantive issues, such as Israeli settlements or Hamas’ refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist. 

Nevertheless, the development shows that even with staunch opposition within the UN system — including from the US, a permanent Security Council member, and Israel — weaker polities can make progress toward having their voices heard at the international level. 

The question, then, is if Palestine can score such a victory, why can’t Taiwan? 

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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