Taiwan rejected in high-profile bid to join U.N.
UNITED NATIONS |
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations again blocked Taiwan's quest for membership in the world body on Wednesday despite a high-profile campaign this year by Taipei that has irritated the United States as well as China.
A U.N. committee rejected a proposal to put Taiwan's latest bid to rejoin the United Nations on the agenda of this year's General Assembly annual session that began on Tuesday.
Taiwan was expelled from the United Nations in 1971 in favor of China.
The assembly's General Committee, a panel on which all 192 U.N. members have a voice, made the decision in a closed meeting, diplomats who attended said.
"I think the outcome is good because the overwhelming majority of members of the committee support a one-China policy," said Beijing's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya.
It was the 15th consecutive year that a membership bid by the island of 23 million people had met the same fate, but the first time it had applied under the name Taiwan instead of its formal title, Republic of China.
Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian also has scheduled a referendum for March on the U.N. membership drive, a move that has displeased Washington, which fears it will increase tension between Taiwan and China.
At issue is whether Taiwan is part of China or not. Beijing says it is and has threatened to attack the island if it declares independence. U.N. membership could be considered a move toward independence.
A senior official in Taiwan's foreign ministry, David Lin, said the island's campaign would go on. "Certainly we will continue our efforts, we will carry on," he told Reuters.
A series of approaches by Taiwan this year to various U.N. bodies were already rejected in July by the office of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and by the Security Council, and on September 7 by the outgoing General Assembly president.
Ban said on Tuesday it had proved legally impossible for his office to accept Taiwan's application despite careful consideration of the matter.
He cited the 1971 General Assembly resolution that expelled the "representatives of Chiang Kai-shek" -- the nationalist leader driven out of mainland China in 1949 by the communists -- and awarded their seat to the People's Republic.
"This has been the official position of the United Nations and has not changed since 1971," he said.
The self-ruled island that China has claimed as its own since the 1949 civil war says the assembly's resolution no longer applies to present-day Taiwan, which is recognized by 24 countries.
The Marshall Islands, representing that group, had asked for Taiwan's application to be considered by the new General Assembly session, leading to it being put before the General Committee on Wednesday.
With China holding a veto in the 15-member Security Council and overwhelming support in the General Assembly, Taiwan's U.N. bid was bound to fail, but Taipei says it must champion its people's right to U.N. representation.
Analysts have suggested Chen's government wants to solidify a long-term agenda of greater independence from China by stirring anger at home. About 250,000 people demonstrated in two Taiwan cities on Saturday in support of the U.N. drive.
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