On the 36th anniversary of the nation's withdrawal from the UN, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday said that dictator Chiang Kai-shek's (蔣介石) decision to bail out of the UN in 1971 was the source of the problems the government has with its UN membership bid.
Arguing that the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) campaign to "rejoin" the UN using the nation's official title -- the Republic of China (ROC) -- is deceptive, Chen said that the People's Republic of China (PRC) replaced the ROC as the sole representative of China when Chiang's representative dropped out of the UN 36 years ago.
"It is impossible for the ROC to return to UN," he said. "Don't fool yourself and don't fool the international community and the 23 million people of Taiwan."
PHOTO: FANG PIN-CHAO, TAIPEI TIMES
Joining the UN using the name "Taiwan" is not vying with China for UN representation but striving for the representation of the people of Taiwan, Chen said.
"We took a historic step this year by applying for UN membership using the name Taiwan," Chen said. "We are under a lot of pressure but I'm glad we made the right decision."
Chen made the remarks after attending an exhibition detailing the history of Taiwan and the UN at the National Central Library yesterday afternoon. The event, co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Academia Historica, is open between 9am and 5pm through Nov. 11.
To illustrate the differences between the ROC and Taiwan, Chen gave an impromptu crooning of the Ode to the Republic of China and Taiwan. While the Ode to the Republic of China extols a prairie in China's Qinghai Province and the Himalaya mountains, Taiwan praises the Central Mountain Range and Jade Mountain.
More than 85 percent of Taiwanese consider Taiwan as an independent sovereign state and its sovereignty covers Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, Chen said.
"That is the key difference between Taiwan and the Republic of China," he said.
Chen said the KMT regime did not do anything about the nation's UN representation during Chiang's presidency and that of his son Chiang Ching-kuo (
The 14 attempts previous to this year were futile because the government had used the wrong approach, Chen said. The UN membership campaign not only carries political meaning but also involves the the economy and the health, communications and energy sectors, he said.
Earlier in the morning, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) urged the public to see clearly who should be held politically responsible for the loss of the UN seat and that seeking membership for Taiwan at the UN is a belated policy.
"A wrong policy is worse than corruption," she said. "The country's withdrawal from the UN is a perfect example."
She expressed the hope that the two presidential candidates learn a lesson from historic mistakes and come up with concrete measures, rather than sloganeering, to achieve the goal of becoming a UN member using the name Taiwan.
Despite US opposition to Taiwan's UN membership bid, Lu said the government must be creative and there are many ways to join the UN and related organizations. Taking the example of the UN-affiliated International Federation of Business and Professional Women, Lu said she plans to establish three chapters in the north, center and south of the country in order to help Taiwan to be eligible for an application as a nation.
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