09/15/2005, 00.00
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Taiwan criticises UN for rejecting its bid for a GA seat

For the 13th consecutive year, the General Committee of the General Assembly has rejected Taiwan's request that its UN membership be put on the agenda for this year's session. Taiwanese opposition parties are criticised for their leaders' recent visits to the mainland. Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian is scheduled to visit the United States next week.

Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) – An indignant Taiwan cried foul after the United Nations rejected for the 13th year consecutive year its bid for a seat on the world body because of China's opposition.

"It is unfair for the [General] committee dominated by [mainland] China and its allies to block our two proposals from being discussed in the general assembly," Taiwan's Foreign Minister Mark Chen Tan-sun told a news conference.

The committee rejected two proposals seeking to have Taiwan's UN membership put on the agenda for the assembly's 60th anniversary session that opened yesterday.

Mr Chen said that of the 28 UN members on the General Committee, only Paraguay supported Taiwan. Mr Chen said a request by Paraguay—one of Taiwan's 26 diplomatic allies—that other members be allowed to speak was rejected.

In the first proposal, Taiwan said the UN had a duty to see the island's 23 million people represented in the world body. In the second, it claimed that this time around the UN, as a world body with a peacekeeping mission, could not turn a blind eye to the growing military threat posed by mainland China.

The People's Republic has denied it poses a threat to Taiwan, citing the healthy trade and investment volume across the Taiwan Strait as well as the huge number of Taiwanese visitors to the mainland each year.

The Foreign Minister did not spare Taiwan's opposition leaders from his attacks.  He said: "[Beijing] even used the opposition leaders' China visits as a proof of [amiable] cross-strait ties, and the opposition parties should really ponder what is behind this obvious united-front offensive by China."

Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian will begin a tour of Central America and the United States on September 26, hoping to consolidate ties with its allies.

Taiwanese media reported that President Chen was planning to be in New York during the General Assembly's session at the same time as Chinese President Hu Jintao, but that his request was turned down by Washington for fear of upsetting Beijing. However, presidential deputy secretary-general James Huang Chih-fang said the reports were groundless.

The reports also said that because of Mr Chen's visit, Washington asked former president Lee Teng-hui to postpone his trip to the United States.

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