President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday vowed to persist with Taiwan's UN bid and said he would not stop until the nation becomes a full member.
The president made the remarks following the return of his letter to the Chinese ambassador to the UN.
Chen sent UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a letter last Friday and sent another to Beijing's UN representative, Wang Guangya (
The letters were sent following Chen's first letter to Ban on July 18 requesting UN membership under the name "Taiwan," a departure from previous applications that had used the name "Republic of China" (ROC).
The UN Office of Legal Affairs rejected the letter on July 23, citing UN Resolution 2758.
Wang, who handed over the rotating chairmanship of the Security Council to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Tuesday, told UN correspondents on Wednesday that he returned Chen's letter the same day that he received it.
Chen, in the latest issue of his weekly e-newsletter, said that more than 77 percent of the public supported the bid to join the UN, without citing a source for the figure.
"We can accomplish this mission impossible if we solidify a public consensus," he said. "We want to let the world hear the voice of the Taiwanese people."
Chen said that Taiwan had been excluded from the international community for far too long and China had repeatedly rejected the nation's sovereignty and suppressed its influence.
This year, the government adopted a new strategy by applying under the name "Taiwan" to emphasize the nation's sovereignty and democracy, he said.
"Taiwan, which is a liberal democracy, should not be isolated from world," he said.
"We will keep trying until the international community and the United Nations acknowledge our democratic development and accept Taiwan as a full member," he said.
Saying that it is important that the Taiwanese decide their own future, Chen said in Pingtung County yesterday that a planned referendum on whether to join the UN under the name "Taiwan" must be held.
Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said separately yesterday the government must listen to the public and help them realize their dream of joining the UN.
"We cannot give up just because somebody is against it," she said.
Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰), acting Presidential Office secretary-general, added that the administration realized the difficulty of the undertaking, but he urged the public and all political parties to support the campaign.
Taiwan must take this matter seriously for the world to take it seriously, he said.
Lin Yung-lo (
In New York, a UN official said on Wednesday that the UN's position on Taiwan's participation in the world body had not changed despite Taiwan's request for the world body to reconsider its membership application.
Marie Okabe, deputy spokeswoman for the secretary-general, made the remarks during a daily press briefing. When asked about the letters sent by Chen, she said she could not confirm at this point whether the UN had responded officially to the latest move by Taiwan.