Underscoring the nation's right to join the UN, President Chen Shui-bian (
Chen said on Sunday he had submitted a second letter to Ban last Friday, once again requesting UN membership under the name "Taiwan." Chen made the first application on July 18, but the UN Office of Legal Affairs rejected the letter, citing UN Resolution 2758.
Chen said that this time his letter was not only addressed to Ban but also to China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya (
While other countries are able to call Taiwan "Taiwan," the nation cannot call itself by that name, Chen said, adding that it is unconscionable for the international community to consider the UN bid as an attempt to change the nation's name and to have a different opinion when it comes to membership at the WTO, where it uses the name "Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu."
"We must come up with a different strategy to fight for the rights of the 23 million people of Taiwan," he said.
As a popularly elected presid-ent, Chen said he was duty-bound to safeguard the nation's sovereignty, dignity and safety. Taiwan is a sovereign state and is not part of the People's Republic of China, he said.
Huang also held a press meeting yesterday to announce he had sent his own protest letter to Ban last Thursday, stressing that Ban's interpretation of Resolution 2758 did not reflect the reality across the Strait and within the region.
Huang also addressed the concerns of the US State Department over the matter, explaining that Taiwan's application for formal UN membership did not violate the "four noes pledge" Chen made at his inauguration in 2000 because Taiwan's bid has nothing to do with changing the country's title.
"We applied for membership under the name `Taiwan' to differentiate us from China. `Taiwan' is the most direct means of identification used by the international community to refer to the nation," he said.
"Some countries use a name at the UN that differs from their official title. As such, Taiwan's UN bid does not signify a change in the commitment we made to the United States," he said.
Ban last week defended his rejection of the application, saying that Resolution 2758 "clearly mention[s] that the government of China is the sole and legitimate government and the position of the United Nations is that Taiwan is part of China."
In his protest letter, Huang said that the UN Charter stipulates that only the Security Council and the General Assembly have the authority to discuss and decide on UN membership applications and that the UN Secretariat does not have the discretion to reject such an application, Huang said.
"[Ban's] interpretation is incorrect, illegitimate and contradictory to regional realities. Therefore, it cannot and should not be taken as the legal basis to turn down our application," Huang said.
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