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Taiwan rallies support for U.N. membership bid.

NEW YORK, Sept. 14 Kyodo

Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian appealed to the United States and other members of the international community Friday for help in seeking United Nations membership for the self-governing island just days prior to the opening of the 62nd session of the U.N. General Assembly next week.

Chen participated in a video conference in New York with a panel of journalists and experts sponsored by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and the Overseas Press Club of America, where he called for countries to lend support to Taiwan in its bid for U.N. membership under the name of Taiwan, rather than its official name the Republic of China.

The panel included former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, now a senior research fellow at Washington, D.C. think tank American Enterprise Institute.

''Taiwan has long been excluded from the U.N. and its very existence ignored. Such an unjustified abnormal situation exists not because Taiwan lacks the basic elements that constitute a sovereign state, but rather because the world community is reluctant to face the reality and is short of moral courage to defend justice,'' Chen said, repeatedly emphasizing that he was speaking for Taiwan's population of 23 million people.

Taiwan's membership would help create a broader mechanism for dialogue and negotiations, thus leading to decreased tensions in the Taiwan Strait, he said.

''Giving Taiwan's application a fair review and warmly embracing Taiwan as a new member to the U.N. will help safeguard the interests of Taiwan, Japan, the United States and other friendly nations,'' he added.

In his comments, Bolton told the Taiwanese president that he felt that the United States should take the lead in extending full diplomatic recognition to Taiwan.

''Ultimately, removing the ambiguity on the status of Taiwan is something that would benefit the U.S. and make it clear the U.S. will not tolerate use of force or threat of use of force by China against Taiwan,'' he said.

Taiwan submitted two applications for U.N. membership for the first time under the name ''Taiwan'' this past July and August, both of which were rejected on the basis of the ''one-China'' policy.

Prior to this year, it applied for U.N. membership under the name ''the Republic of China.''

A General Assembly resolution adopted in 1971 recognizes that ''the representatives of the government of the People's Republic of China are the only lawful representatives of China to the United Nations and that the People's Republic of China is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.''

Until the passage of that resolution, the Taipei government held China's U.N. seat under the name ''the Republic of China.''

''Taiwan has been suppressed and treated as an invisible country,'' Chen said Friday. ''Our people have waited long enough for a proper change and we have experienced more than enough humiliation and frustration. The people of Taiwan deserve every right to demand appropriate representation in the U.N.''

Chen also announced that a rally featuring Matsu, the Taiwanese goddess of Seafarers, would be held Saturday morning across from the world body headquarters to support its U.N. membership bid.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Sep 15, 2007
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