Sun, Sep 23, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan will not appear on UN agenda

ACCOMPLISHMENT Never before had the issue of Taiwan's representation at the UN been discussed so extensively at a plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA, NEW YORK

The UN General Assembly upheld on Friday the General Committee's decision to exclude the Taiwan membership issue from the agenda of its 62nd session opening this week, despite efforts by some of Taiwan's diplomatic allies seeking a reversal of the decision.

At Friday's plenary meeting, during which the General Assembly approved 163 agenda items recommended by the General Committee, 14 of Taiwan's diplomatic allies spoke up to challenge the committee's recommendation not to consider an item endorsed by 16 of Taiwan's allies urging the Security Council to process Taiwan's membership application in accordance with due procedure.

The allies included Belize, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Gambia, Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands, Sao Tome and Principe, Swaziland and Tuvalu.

China, in turn, mobilized 141 member states to speak against including the item on the agenda.

While the US, Canada and Japan did not take a stance on the issue, the UK and France, which were in favor of the General Committee's recommendation, stressed that Taiwan and China should seek a peaceful resolution to their differences through dialogue.

After a marathon debate lasting more than four hours, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim ruled that the item should not be included on the agenda on the grounds that member states could not reach a consensus.

Taiwanese officials in New York said the country's allies were expected to raise the issue of UN membership for Taiwan again during the general debate from Sept. 25 to Oct. 13.

Taiwan's representative to the US, Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), said Taiwan must fight for every opportunity for open discussion of the membership issue, although the country is fully aware that the chance of the issue being included on the agenda is slim, mostly because of China's opposition.

Wu said that such open discussion would allow the world to hear the voice of Taiwanese and realize the scale of the unfair treatment Taiwan has received.

In Taipei, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Tzu-pao (楊子葆) said this marked the first time that the issue of Taiwan's representation had been discussed so extensively at a plenary meeting of the General Assembly, which he said shows that Taiwan's bid has received a high level of attention from the international community.

Also, Yang described the US' silence at the meeting as a "friendly response" to Taiwan's efforts.

Washington had hitherto said it does not support membership for Taiwan in international organizations where statehood is required.

Taiwan has not been represented in the UN since 1971, when the Republic of China's UN seat was taken over by the People's Republic of China.

While the country, with the support of its diplomatic allies, has tried without success to have the UN consider the issue of its representation since 1993, this year marked the first time it has applied to join the world body under the name "Taiwan."

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