U.N. again throws out Taiwan bid for recognition

TAIPEI Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:02am EDT

A child attends a rally titled ''U.N. for Taiwan'' in Taiwan's southern city of Kaohsiung, September 15, 2007. REUTERS/Nicky Loh

A child attends a rally titled ''U.N. for Taiwan'' in Taiwan's southern city of Kaohsiung, September 15, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Nicky Loh

TAIPEI (Reuters) - The United Nations has again ruled out a U.N. role for Taiwan, a Taipei official said on Thursday, despite a recent thaw in relations with China which considers the island a breakaway province.

A U.N. subcommittee decided on Wednesday it would not let the General Assembly consider Taiwan's request for permission to join U.N. activities, an island foreign ministry official said.

Fifteen attempts by Taiwan to join the United Nations have failed, most recently last year. The United Nations ousted Taiwan in favor of China in 1971.

This time, Taiwan was not applying for membership, just to take part in unspecified U.N. "activities".

"This once again demonstrates U.N. members' determination to uphold the one-China principle," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said of the decision.

"Taiwan compatriots' participation in international activities should be decided by negotiations between both sides of the Taiwan Strait," she said. "We believe we can find a solution through talks."

China has considered self-ruled, democratic Taiwan part of its territory rather than a separate country since the island broke away from Mao Zedong's Communists amid civil war in 1949. Statehood is a requirement for U.N. membership.

But since taking office in May, Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has declared a diplomatic truce with China, which has about 170 allies worldwide compared to Taiwan's 23.

"The foreign ministry expresses regret," Taiwan's deputy foreign minister Andrew Hsia told a news conference.

But in a sign that Taiwan is sticking to its truce, the island has called off a 2008 summit with its six diplomatic allies from the South Pacific. Former President Chen Shui-bian used to use the summits to rally international support for Taiwan over China.

(Reporting by Ralph Jennings; Additional reporting by Yu Le in Beijing)

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