Thu, Nov 29, 2007 - Page 3 News List

DPP hands over 2.7 million UN bid signatures to CEC

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER, WITH CNA , TAIPEI AND NEW YORK

A man smiles for the camera as a truck drives to the offices of the Central Election Commission to deliver the signatures collected by the Democratic Progressive Party in favor of the proposed referendum on applying for UN membership using the name "Taiwan."

PHOTO: CNA

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday submitted to the Central Election Commission (CEC) 2.7 million signatures collected for a referendum seeking to join the UN using the name "Taiwan."

If the CEC confirms the legitimacy of the signatures, the referendum will be held concurrently with the presidential election in March. The DPP had to collect 80,000 signatures in the first-stage petition to validate the referendum proposal and 800,000 in the second stage.

The DPP had set the goal of 2 million signatures.

The DPP has proposed holding a referendum on whether to join the UN using the name "Taiwan," while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has suggested another referendum on "rejoining" the body using the country's official name, the Republic of China (ROC), or any other "practical" title that would uphold the country's dignity.

In related developments, the UN rejected a joint letter by 12 diplomatic allies of the nation -- St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Palau, the Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, the Solomon Islands, Swaziland, Tuvalu, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Belize, and Honduras -- requesting that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon remain impartial on Taiwan's application to the UN.

The rejection came one month after the UN's Office of Legal Affairs received the letter.

In the letter, Taiwan's diplomatic allies said that UN Undersecretary-General for Legal Affairs Nicolas Michel had misinterpreted UN Resolution 2758 and viewed Taiwan as part of China.

The authors said that as a result of this misinterpretation, Michel had turned down President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) letter expressing the nation's wish to join the UN and thereby broken UN Security Council and the General Assembly regulations.

The allies said that Taiwan is not part of China and expressed their support for Taiwan's UN membership bid, adding that UN Secretariat officials did not have the right to decide on a new membership application.

Calling on Ban to do the right thing, the allies said he should remain impartial in his capacity as the UN secretary-general and abide by the UN Charter and relevant regulations in processing Taiwan's membership application.

This year, Taiwan applied to the world body for membership using the name "Taiwan" rather than Republic of China. The annual membership application -- its 15th consecutive bid -- was rejected by the UN General Assembly on Sept. 18.

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