Sun, Sep 09, 2007 - Page 1 News List

US congressmen get behind UN bid

CONCERTED EFFORT US-based groups sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urging him to send the application to the Security Council and General Assembly

By Charles Snyder  /  Staff Reporter in Washington

Congressmen and Taiwanese-Americans raised their voices in support of Taiwan's bid to join the UN this week in speeches to the US House of Representatives and letters to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

And Taiwanese-Americans were planning rallies in three US cities on the issue.

Three congressmen inserted remarks in the official Congressional Record on Thursday backing UN membership and criticizing Ban for his rejection of two applications from Taiwan for General Assembly action on its entry bid.

Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo argued against US President George W. Bush's position opposing Taiwan's UN entry. Ticking off Taiwan's democratic attributes, he said: "One would think that Taiwan's efforts to engage the international community would be welcomed and applauded by most everybody."

Taking issue with fellow Republican Bush, Tancredo faulted the US "one China" policy as "irrational and outdated."

"President Bush should live up to the promise he made in his inaugural address, `when you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you,' and support Taiwan's bid to join the UN," he said. "Taiwan is by all measures a sovereign and independent nation and I hope the United States and other free nations of the world will finally muster the courage to stand up and say so."

Representative G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina complained that Taiwan's "23 million people have been deprived of their fundamental human rights," by not being in the UN.

"It is now time to remedy this situation," Butterfield said.

He said that to reject Taiwan's membership based on Resolution 2758 is a "flawed" argument because "it fails to recognize the fact that Taiwan is a sovereign government with its own national flag, Constitution, armed forces and is recognized by more than 20 independent nations."

"Even more importantly, the people of Taiwan have authorized their leader, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), to express to the world the desire of Taiwan to belong to this important world body," he said.

Representative Bill Sali of Idaho urged the UN Secretariat to pass the application to the General Assembly membership for a vote. The UN Office of Legal Affairs' contention that the resolution settled China's jurisdiction over Taiwan is "anachronistic" and "a dubious assertion," he said.

"It is unreasonable to claim that the PRC [People's Republic of China] presumes to speak for a land and people over which it has no control," Sali said. "If the United Nations is founded on the principle of the equality of sovereign nations, it has no reason not to recognize Taiwan as an independent nation."

Meanwhile, more than 20 major Taiwanese-American and allied groups on Thursday sent a letter to Ban that urged him to forward Taiwan's application to the Security Council and General Assembly, which, the letter said, are the only UN organs under UN rules authorized to review and decide on UN membership applications.

"To exclude Taiwan on the basis of Resolution 2758 is dishonest and unconscionable," the letter said.

"The sovereignty of Taiwan is not an issue [in the resolution] ... Resolution 2758 does not substantiate the spurious claim that Taiwan is part of China," the letter said, noting that "freely and democratically elected" Chen has "clearly stated that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country. His application for UN membership, on behalf of the people of Taiwan, should be accepted, discussed and approved."

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