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New York

Ten nations propose UN membership for Taiwan

New York, 9 August 2001

On 8 August 2001, ten of Taiwan's diplomatic allies submitted a joint proposal to the UN Secretariat in New York, urging its General Assembly to set up a working group to study the Taiwan's membership in the world body.

"The purpose of the working group would be to examine Taiwan's exceptional international situation and calls for the international community to pay close attention to the cross-strait situation in order to encourage both sides of the Taiwan Strait to resume dialogue and communication on a peaceful basis and equal footing," vice foreign minister Wu Tzu-dan told a press conference in Taipei.

The 10 countries are El Salvador, Senegal, Dominica, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, Chad, Tuvalu, Palau and Belize. Taiwan currently has diplomatic relations with 28 countries, mainly in the Carribean, Africa and the Pacific. Each year since 1993 it has lobbied those allies to launch at the UN the nation's bid to join the world body.

Noting that Taiwan is the only country in the world that remains excluded from the UN, the ten countries requested the inclusion on the agenda of the UN's 56th General Assembly session of an item titled "Need to examine the exceptional international situation pertaining to Taiwan and ensure that the fundamental right of Taiwan's 23 million people to participate in the work and activities of the UN is fully respected."

Deputy Foreign Minister Wu said that Taiwan's bid to join the UN did not aim to challenge the People's Republic of China's seat. But, he said, Beijing must be made to understand that its continuous obstruction of Taiwan's participation in the international community would only cause the 23 million people of Taiwan to be antipathetic towards China and thus hamper the development of cross-strait relations.

In previous years, China put the countries in the UN Steering Committee under strong pressure, and blocked the proposal from being put on the General Assembly's agenda. The same bully tactics are expected this year.

In a speech on 8 august 2001 to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, Taiwan's representative to the US Chen Chien-jen said that Taiwan's efforts to join major international organizations were aimed at highlighting the unfair treatment the nation has endured from the world community. "The main purpose of our UN bid is to call for world attention to the unfair and unreasonable treatment our country has received over the past years," Chen told his audience. He added that although Taiwan's road to the UN may be "rugged," the government and people would not be daunted by any obstacle.

Chen also touched on Taiwan's bid to join the WTO, saying that Taiwan was likely to be admitted to the Geneva-based world trade regulatory body in November or December this year. He added the Taiwan government hopes that the US will take active steps to promote Taiwan's bid to join the World Health Organization as an observer.