Taiwan to continue its fight to join UN agencies (Lead)

September 18th, 2008 - 2:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Taipei, Sep 18 (DPA) Taiwan expressed regret Thursday for its failure to gain membership in United Nations agencies at the current UN General Assembly but vowed to continue the fight next year.China - which has veto power on the Security Council, the UN’s highest decision-making body - has long opposed Taiwan membership in international organizations.

“China’s response was expected,” Foreign Minister Francisco Ou said. “It takes a long time to win support from the international community. We now are focussing on joining the World Health Organization and are cautiously optimistic about it.”

“We hope that China can understand that Taiwan’s 23 million people have the right to join international organizations, and there should be a solution,” he said.

Taiwan, after having tried to regain its UN seat for 15 years, has toned down its effort this year by seeking instead to join UN agencies as President Ma Ying-jeou seeks to improve ties with China.

Ma said he hoped Beijing would let Taipei join UN agencies in exchange for Taiwan not seeking independence or a UN seat, which is offered only to sovereign states.

So at the 63rd UN General Assembly, 16 of Taiwan’s 23 diplomatic allies submitted a motion asking the General Assembly to review Taiwan’s “meaningful participation in UN activities.”

But on Wednesday, the General Committee refused to put Taipei’s request on the General Assembly’s agenda, citing lack of consensus among members of the committee.

China has diplomatic ties with 171 of the 192 UN members.

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