UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he hoped the issue of UN membership for Taiwan would be discussed at the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly which opened on Tuesday in New York.
Ban was referring to a motion, endorsed by 16 of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, to include the issue as a supplementary item on the agenda of the session.
"I hope that, accordingly, this question will have to be discussed by the member states," Ban said at a news briefing when asked about his decision to return letters written by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) requesting membership for Taiwan.
Ban said the matter "was very carefully considered by the Secretariat" and that "it was not legally possible to receive" the application based on UN Resolution 2758.
"By Resolution 2758 of 1971, the General Assembly decided to recognize the representatives of the People's Republic of China (PRC) as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations. This has been the official position of the United Nations and has not changed since 1971," Ban said.
Taiwan has not been represented at the UN since 1971, when the Republic of China's (ROC) UN seat was taken over by the PRC. The country is bidding to join the world body using the name "Taiwan."
Chen sent a membership application letter to Ban on July 19, but it was returned on the grounds that the UN follows a "one China" policy. Chen sent a second letter to Ban on July 31 urging him to reconsider his decision, but it too was returned.
Sixteen of Taiwan's diplomatic allies submitted a motion to the UN General Assembly last month requesting that the Security Council process Taiwan's membership application according to established procedures, because resolution 2758 "did not resolve the issue of representation of the 23 million people of Taiwan in the United Nations."
In Taipei, Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Yu Shyi-kun said Ban's remark potentially supported "the prospect of the government's application for UN membership using the name `Taiwan.'"
He said he hoped people would understand Taiwan's UN bid would only succeed by seeking a new representation in the organization.
Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday dismissed Ban's rejection of Taiwan's application for UN membership, saying his theory was flawed because Resolution 2758 resolved only China's representation not Taiwan's.
"The Resolution said nothing about the Republic of China or Taiwan," Lu said. "There is only one China but there is also one Taiwan. We are applying for UN membership under the name Taiwan."
The ROC was "founded in China" in 1912, but "relocated to Taiwan" in 1949, she said.
The ROC was "on Taiwan" when the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion (動員戡亂時期臨時條款) were abolished in 1991. The ROC "became Taiwan" in 1996 when the people of Taiwan directly elected a president, she said.
Lu said the public must accept the fact that the nation's name is still the ROC.
Lu said there have been two ROCs -- the one in China, and the one that exists now.
Taiwan is not part of China, she added, because of the Taipei Treaty signed by Japan and the KMT regime in 1952.
The 1952 pact reiterated that Japan had renounced its claim to Taiwan, without specifying a legal successor.
Lu criticized the government's UN campaign, saying the baseball logo failed to convey a clear message, with some saying that it looked like a "pig's snout."
While the billboards set up in front of the Presidential Office were taken down temporarily because of Typhoon Wipha, Lu said that they should be changed altogether.
She also proposed setting up a UN study center and hiring international experts to discuss the nation's international status.
Cabinet Spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (ÁÂ§Ó°¶) yesterday responded to Lu's comment about the logo jokingly, saying that "a pig's nose is good because you need it to dig out the expensive French truffle."
Shieh did not say whether the logo would be re-designed.
Additional reporting by Flora Wang and Jimmy Chuang
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