September 13, 2005

Taiwan fails in 13th annual bid for U.N. seat

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Taiwan failed on Wednesday for
the 13th straight year to get a seat at the United Nations, a
move that has been blocked annually since 1993 by archrival
China and its allies.

A committee of the U.N. General Assembly rejected two
proposals that the question of U.N. membership for Taiwan be
put on the agenda for the assembly's 60th session, which opens
on Wednesday.

The assembly's General Committee, a panel on which all 191
U.N. members have a voice, made the decision by consensus, with
no formal vote.

Taiwan is a bit larger than Belgium, has a population of
more than 23 million people and has one of the world's largest
economies. It uses its economic clout to woo support from
mostly tiny and impoverished U.N. members in Central America,
Africa and the South Pacific.

But China, which views Taiwan as a breakaway province that
must be brought under its rule, has been even more forceful in
making the issue a test of friendship.

The question of U.N. membership has raged since 1949, when
Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist government lost the Chinese civil
war to the Communists on mainland China and fled to Taiwan,
taking with him the Republic of China government.

Chiang held on to China's U.N. seat until 1971, when the
General Assembly expelled Taipei and gave the seat to Beijing.

China, which says the island must be reunified, by force if
necessary, sits on the Security Council, has veto power and
many more friends in the United Nations than Taiwan.

Most U.N. members see Taiwan as part of a single China.
Taiwan has argued it should have its own seat in the world body
in order to take part in the work of international