Asked about Taiwan, deputy UN chief says exclusion of anyone can harm global goals

FILE PHOTO: A Taiwanese flag flaps in the wind in Taoyuan

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Exclusion of anyone harms efforts to achieve global development goals, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said on Friday when asked about Taiwan's appeal to be included in the campaign.

World leaders will meet next week at the annual high-level U.N. General Assembly. But Taiwan is excluded under a 1971 U.N. resolution that recognizes the People's Republic of China as the legitimate representative of China to the U.N.

Leaders will also attend a summit on the Sustainable Development Goals - a global "to do" list created in 2015 that includes issues such as tackling the climate crisis, achieving gender equality and ending hunger and poverty.

"I think exclusion of anyone holds back the goals," Mohammed told reporters on Friday. "We said leave noone behind and I think member states have to find a way to make sure that we are not in that position where we're excluding people.

"Every person matters, whether it's Taiwan or otherwise. And I think it's really important for member states to find a solution," she said.

When asked about her remarks, China's U.N. mission referred to a statement by China's U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun on Thursday.

"The so-called Taiwan's participation in the U.N. is a false narrative through and through. First, there is but one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory," Zhang said.

The 1971 resolution replaced the then-government of the Republic of China that had been pushed to Taiwan following China's civil war.

Proponents of Taiwan say the resolution never ruled out Taiwan's participation.

U.N. deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said that the United Nations upholds the One China policy, adding: "We don't intend to leave any of the people of China behind and we support all of the people of China, but we stick by the One China policy."

Taiwan has long called on the United Nations to admit it as a member. Taiwan's foreign minister Joseph Wu told Foreign Policy in an interview on Thursday that it would be "very hard" for Taiwan to achieve membership, but that there was still hope.

"I think there is growing attention from the international community that there has to be peace between Taiwan and China and the best forum to discuss this issue will be the United Nations," he said.

"So, keeping Taiwan out of the United Nations is immoral, is unjust and is something that we have to make change to."

(This story has been corrected to change the name of the Taiwan foreign minister to Joseph Wu, not Joseph Fu, in paragraph 11)

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; additional reporting by Michael Martina; editing by Grant McCool)