Fri, Sep 07, 2007 - Page 3 News List

US persuaded UN's Ban to reverse stance: sources

REBUTTAL Sources in Washington said, however, that the US had not sent a new letter to the UN head about Taiwan, as the Chinese-language `China Times' reported

By Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTER IN WASHINGTON

The US convinced UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to reverse his "mistaken interpretation" of UN Resolution 2758, in which he maintained that the resolution made Taiwan part of China in the eyes of the world body, sources in Washington told the Taipei Times.

Ban's reversal came after the US conveyed to him that Ban's claim was incorrect, the sources said.

However, well-placed sources on Wednesday denied a report in a Taiwanese newspaper that the US had sent a new letter to Ban's office complaining about his assertions regarding Taiwan's status under UN Resolution 2758.

The report run by the Chinese-language China Times also said the US sent a letter opposing plans by Beijing to introduce a resolution in the General Assembly declaring that Taiwan is part of China as far as the UN is concerned.

The newspaper said that as a result of the US letter, Beijing dropped its plan.

While no letter was sent, "a full explanation of US policy was conveyed to the UN," a source said. "As a result, the UN Secretariat has stopped offering an interpretation which was inconsistent with the facts."

"They were very gracious about it. The UN is not a problem now," the source said.

The US State Department refused to comment on the media reports.

Department spokesman Tom Casey evaded two questions about the issue in his regular daily press briefing on Wednesday.

"Not that I'm aware of," he said in answer to whether such a letter had been sent.

"Certainly I think the UN, including the secretary-general, is aware of our views on the status of Taiwan, is aware of our policies concerning China and there's nothing new in that," he said.

Asked again to confirm whether a letter had been sent, he added only that "this is an issue that I know has been discussed many times over the years."

The reports came on the eve of last night's summit between US President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) on the sidelines of the APEC conference in Sydney, where the issue of Taiwan's planned referendum on entry into the UN using the name Taiwan was expected to be a topic of discussion.

In a briefing last week in advance of the APEC meeting, Dennis Wilder, the senior Asian affairs advisor in the US National Security Council, told reporters that the US view is that the status of Taiwan is "undecided," a position starkly contrasting to the Chinese position.

Ban's UN Secretariat has twice this summer rejected Taiwan's UN membership application letters, a decision criticized as a violation of UN rules, which require that such applications be submitted to the UN General Assembly for determination.

Defending that decision in July, Ban claimed that Resolution 2758 "clearly mention[s] that the government of China is the sole and legitimate government and the position of the United Nations is that Taiwan is part of China."

"The decision until now about the wish of the people of Taiwan to join the United Nations has been decided on that basis," Ban said at a press conference.

The State Department is said to have been "pissed" that Ban and the Secretariat had put such an interpretation in writing, as they did in letters to Taiwan rejecting its applications.

In fact, the resolution only "recognizes" that the "representatives of the Government of the People's Republic of China are the only lawful representatives of China" in the UN, and expels "the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) from the place which they unlawfully occupy at the United Nations."

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