Swaziland/eSwatini stands up for Taiwan at the UN

Swaziland's King Mswati III
Swaziland’s King Mswati III addresses the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Sept. 20, 2017

One of the few countries that have full diplomatic relations with the island of Taiwan is calling for it to be included more in UN activities.

The king of the tiny African nation of Eswatini, Mswati III, said in his address to the UN General Assembly that Taiwan, also known as the Republic of China, should have “the opportunity to partake and contribute to the United Nations Development system.” He said Taiwan’s experience “would go a long way” in contributing to the UN.

Such entreaties are unusual. Fewer than 20 nations have full diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Most of the others have relations with the People’s Republic of China, run by the Chinese Communist Party in the capital of Beijing.

China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949, and Beijing considers the island part of its sovereign territory even though Taiwan operates under its own elected government. In recent years, China has used investment and financial incentives to get other nations to drop relations with Taipei and establish ties with Beijing.

eSwatini changed its name earlier this year from Swaziland. It is Taiwan’s last ally in Africa, a continent where China has invested extensively in recent years.