Fri, Sep 19, 2003 - Page 1 News List

UN bid fails again, more speak against

LITTLE VICTORIES That more countries than before spoke against the bid was interpreted by officials as a good sign because it meant the issue was still alive

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

Taiwan failed in its 11th bid to join the UN on Wednesday when the General Assembly rejected a proposal presented by 15 of Taiwan's allies to put the issue on the UN agenda. The government nevertheless vowed to continue its efforts to enter the world body.

The assembly, which began in New York on Wednesday, did not include an item called "Question of the representation of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the United Nations" in its agenda.

"The question of Taiwan will not come up in the General Assembly," said Michele Montas, spokeswoman for the 191-member General Assembly, after daylong deliberations on Wednesday marked by stiff resistance from China.

"No sovereign state in the world would allow one of its provinces or regions to participate in the United Nations, an organization whose membership requires statehood," Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya (王光宇) told the General Committee, the body which draws up the General Assembly's agenda.

"There is but one China in the world; both the mainland and Taiwan are part of that one and the same China," Wang said.

The US, as it did last year, did not speak on the issue, while Russia, China's close ally, opposed the inclusion of the issue on the agenda.

The other two permanent members of the UN Security Council, the UK and France, said that their stance on the issue, which opposes Taiwan's participation, had not changed.

The UK, nevertheless, welcomed continued democratic development in Taiwan, said Tung Kuo-yu (董國猶), director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of International Organizations.

Tung said Taiwan needed to put more effort in promoting its UN bid.

"Taiwan is the only country in the world that remains excluded from the United Nations," said a statement by the countries backing the bid.

Tung said 104 countries spoke on the issue, the most since Taiwan began its UN bids in 1993.

The 24 who spoke in support of the petition all have official ties with Taiwan. The 80 countries who opposed the proposal mostly cited UN Resolution 2758.

The resolution, passed in October 1971, recognized the People's Republic of China (PRC) as the sole legitimate government representing China in the UN. But many argue the resolution did not resolve the question of how the people of Taiwan would be represented in the UN.

Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), a former foreign minister, yesterday said that although the resolution recognized the PRC as the sole legitimate government representing China in the UN, it had nothing to do with the Taiwanese people's representation in the body.

Hu said Taiwan should try to reduce the significance of the resolution but stressed that pressure from China was the biggest challenge to Taiwan's bid to join the UN.

Hu regarded the increasing number of countries speaking about the bid as a good thing because hotter discussion about the problem ensures that the bid will not become a "lost issue."

The UK and France's speeches in the General Assembly were not a surprise, Hu said.

"China might have requested both countries to speak on the issue because if they remained silent, it might be taken as showing indirect support for Taiwan's bid," Hu said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) yesterday called on the international community to recognize the existence of the Republic of China (ROC).

"I believe [Taiwan's] participation on the UN is not only a reasonable appeal but an action to pursue international justice. We will succeed as long as we persist," Chien said.

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