Thu, Sep 14, 2006 - Page 1 News List

UN seat bid fails, MOFA lashes out at China's moves

DIPLOMATIC SETBACK The Ministry of Foreign Affairs took consolation in the fact that no developed countries spoke out against the bid on Tuesday

By Jewel Huang and Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

For the 14th year in a row, Taiwan's bid for a UN seat has been rejected -- blocked by Beijing and its allies from being placed on the General Assembly's agenda.

The assembly's General Committee declined on Tuesday to list two proposals put forth by Taiwan and its allies on the agenda of the assembly's 61st session.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) last night expressed frustration over the failure of the nation's 14th bid to participate in the UN, urging the international community to support the country to enter the UN under the name of "Taiwan."

"According to a recent public opinion poll, more than 79 percent of the people support the country joining the UN under the name of `Taiwan' ... Taiwan should not be shut out ..." Chen told the UN's correspondence club in New York in a teleconference late last night.

Stressing that Taiwan is a sovereign country, Chen said that if the nation joined the UN under the name of the "Republic of China," it would cause confusion with China's "People's Republic of China." He urged the UN's members to welcome the nation's entry as soon as possible under the name "Taiwan."

John Tkacik, a leading Taiwan expert with the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, attended the conference and voiced his support for Taiwan's UN bid.

Machinations

Earlier yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned China's machinations and said that it would work on the possibility of implementing President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) vow to enter the UN with the title of "Taiwan" again next year.

"China abused its influence in UN and forced the General Committee to make decisions that violate UN protocol procedure," ministry Spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said. "China's high-handed oppression of Taiwan's international space will only deepen the rift between Taiwan and China and reinforce Taiwanese antipathy towards China."

"It will not help improve cross-strait relations and facilitate benign interactions," Lu said.

The Cabinet, meanwhile, accused the UN of violating the human rights of Taiwan's people by denying the bid for membership in the world body.

"Human rights are something the UN values a lot. However, what the UN did to Taiwan is against that spirit, isn't it?" Cabinet Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said.

Proposals

The two proposals that Taiwan put forward this year were "the question of the representation and participation of the 23 million people of Taiwan in the United Nations," which requested the inclusion of Taiwan's bid as a supplementary item to the agenda of the General Assembly.

The second proposal termed the "peace proposal" asked the UN to take a more proactive role in maintaining peace and security in East Asia.

However, China's allies prevented the two proposals from being listed. Uganda proposed combining Taiwan's two proposals into one and 12 members of the General Committee, including Russia, supported Uganda's motion.

Shaikha Haya bint Rashed Al Khalifa, chairwoman of the General Committee, announced the adoption of Uganda's motion and ruled that the committee would not list Taiwan's two proposals into the formal agenda.

Lu said that nearly half of the General Committee members chose to voice their indirect support for Taiwan through the "silence of goodwill."

"Most noticeably, no developed countries objected to Taiwan's two proposals, which we think was major progress this year," Lu said. "It shows that Taiwan's appeal has been valued by these developed countries, and we think it meets the foreign ministry's expectations. Hopefully, they will keep their voices for us, directly or indirectly."

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