Sun, Jan 28, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Alliance urges Chen to use `Taiwan' in application for UN

UN DREAM The Taiwan UN Alliance and FAPA were confident that dumping the name ROC in favor of Taiwan would work in the nation's favor

By Max Hirsch  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of the Taiwan United Nations Alliance (TAIUNA) submitted a letter to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday calling on him to apply for UN membership under the name "Taiwan."

With thousands of members, including many former and current political heavyweights, the alliance has strived for UN membership for Taiwan since its creation in 2003.

Its activities include yearly visits to Geneva and New York to lobby UN officials on behalf of the nation, said Ting Le-chin (鄭麗真), a member of the alliance.

"Of the 192 member states in the UN, 17 gained membership under names that differed from those originally used by those countries," she said, explaining the rationale behind the alliance's request.

The UN has consistently denied membership to Taiwan under the title "the Republic of China," every year since 1993, she added.

Speaking at an alliance conference yesterday, former presidential advisor Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) accused the British government of seeking to dissuade Taiwan from applying for UN membership. He did not elaborate, however.

"I have confidence, however, that by applying under the name `Taiwan,' we will be successful this year," Koo said.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Formosa Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) officials at the event shared Koo's confidence.

"FAPA receives a lot of support in the US Congress, with many congressional representatives siding with us on the issue of applying for membership under the title Taiwan," former FAPA director Chen Jung-ju (陳榮儒) said.

"We have not made any substantial progress since we began lobbying for UN membership. But I think that will change this year," he said.

Established in 1982, FAPA is a Washington-based lobbying group that promotes Taiwanese interests in the US government.

Alliance chair Wei Jui-ming (魏瑞明) said yesterday that the English pronunciation of the acronym FAPA sounded like the phrase "beat down" or "slap down" in Taiwanese.

"FAPA is helping us to slap down China and promote the national interest," Wei said with a laugh.

The conference yesterday was attended mainly by older members -- a sign that the younger generation might not be sympathetic to the alliance's mission of helping Taiwan gain UN membership, Ting told the Taipei Times.

"Younger people perhaps don't care [about the alliance's objectives], and this is certainly a source of frustration for the alliance," she said.

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