Wed, Jul 30, 2008 - Page 1 News List

UN bid will not use ‘Taiwan’: MOFA

WORDING A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said that the terms ‘return’ and ‘join’ would not be used this year, as referendums using those words were not passed

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government will not follow the previous administration’s strategy of using the name “Taiwan” to apply to join the UN, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

The government is expected to unveil this year’s UN entry strategy by Aug. 16, ministry spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政) said, adding that the administration had yet to finalize its decision on the name Taiwan will use in its UN bid this year.

A ministry official who wished to remain anonymous, however, said that “pragmatism” and “moderation” would be the key principles for this year’s bid to win support from the US, Japan and the EU.

Last September, for the first time since the country began applying to rejoin the UN in 1993, Taiwan attempted to join as a new member using the designation “Taiwan” instead of its official name of “Republic of China” (ROC).

The pan-blue camp objected to the move at the time, saying the strategy was bound to fail because it was “impractical” and “rigid,” a view rejected by the pan-green camp, which said that only the name “Taiwan” could fully safeguard the country’s dignity and sovereignty.

The ROC forfeited its UN membership in 1971 when the People’s Republic of China was admitted as China’s sole representative.

Last year’s application never made it to the UN general assembly because the UN’s Secretariat Office rejected it, citing the body’s adherence to the “one China” policy.

In tandem with this March’s presidential race, the pan-blue camp pitched a referendum asking voters to support a bid to “return” to the UN or any other international organization using a “pragmatic” and “flexible” title.

A pan-green backed UN referendum asked voters to support an application for UN membership under the name “Taiwan.”

Both proposals failed to reach the necessary threshold to be valid.

“As a result of the failure of the referendums, we cannot use the word ‘return’ or ‘join’ in our UN entry strategy this year,” said Chen, adding that the administration had not yet decided on whether to use “Chinese Taipei” in its bid as suggested by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) during his campaign.

UN protocol requires all applications for new membership to be submitted at least one month prior to the UN General Assembly, which is scheduled for Sept. 16 this year.

“The government will have a strategy, but I cannot say what the strategy will be. There is still time,” Chen said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA

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