The Council Makeup
The United Nations Security Council is the most powerful branch of the UN and is the only one with the ability to threaten a country with repercussions for disobeying a resolution passed by it. The Council is made up of 5 permanent members with veto power (United States of America, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, France and China.) In addition it also consists of 10 other countries elected by the General Assembly to serve two year terms without veto power.
Members of the Security Council must have a representative on location at the United Nations building in New York at all times in case an issue arises and needs to be dealt with rapidly. If an official UN emergency is declared, all Security Council Member nation representatives are required to assemble within a period of three hours. It is for this reason that a representative must be at the UN building in New York at all times.
Purpose and Powers
The Council's purpose under the UN charter is to maintain international peace and security. The Security Council also recommends the next Secretary-General to the United Nations, in addition to recommendations for higher-up staff of the Secretariat. The Security Council also has the power to admit or reject a country into the UN as an official Member State.
The Council has the power to implement many consequences against a country which has acted against the interest of the UN or international community. The Council can issue sanctions, deploy peacekeeping troops and recommend that a state be expelled from the United Nations entirely.
The five winning Allied powers of World War II, (the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the Russian Federation) were awarded the right of veto power in 1945 shortly after the founding of the United Nations and the ratification of the UN Charter. Veto power dictates that if one of the five powers finds a resolution (a UN declaratory document) to be unsuitable for whatever reason, the negative vote of any one of the five powers can make a resolution unusable. Veto power has been debated from the conceiving of the UN to present day, and has been the reason for the lack of UN reform and for some controversial issues such as the admission of Taiwan into the UN as a Member State.
If a country is not currently on the Council but is effected by the issue being discussed the representative from said country is allowed to participate in the Security Council's discussion but not vote. This protocol is in place to ensure that all voices are heard in the discussion.
Under Resolution 2758, the United Nations General Assembly officially removed Taiwan from the UN. However, under the UN Charter it is under the jurisdiction of the Security Council to determine which countries are to be admitted or rejected. Only in the event when the Security Council cannot meet can the General Assembly have temporal jurisdiction over such a matter. Taiwan was removed by the General Assembly when the topic of Taiwan should have been transferred to the Security Council, in compliance with the articles on UN administration, found in the UN Charter.
Although common denotation of the five allied powers can be used casually, (such as referring to the United Kingdom as "Great Britain"), the five powers registered into the UN under official names:
United States of America United Kingdom France China Russian Federation