Taiwan seeks to join UN agencies

August 15th, 2008 - 2:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Taipei, Aug 15 (DPA) Taiwan said Friday it has changed tact in its UN membership bid by seeking to access special organisations of the global body instead. “The motion raised by our allies this year is to urge the UN assembly to propose that its special organisations accept the meaningful participation of Taiwan and its 23 million people in their respective bodies and activities,” said Vice Foreign Minister Hsia Li-yan in a news conference here.

Instead of seeking to join the UN as it has done every year since 1993, Hsia said it would be more practical for the island to join the UN special organisations, including the World Health Organisation.

He said 17 of Taiwan’s 23 diplomatic allies submitted the motion to the UN General Assembly Thursday as a provisional agenda for reviewing in next month’s assembly in New York.

Taiwan will accept using any title, including Chinese-Taipei, in order to gain accession to those special bodies. “But of course, we will not consider the ‘China’s Taipei’ title,” he added.

The UN ousted Taipei to accept Beijing as the sole representative of the China seat in the global body in 1971.

Taiwan and China split at the end of a civil war in 1949, but Beijing has considered the island an integral part of the mainland that must be brought back to its fold, if necessary by force.

Taiwan decided in 1993 to seek to rejoin the global body, but all efforts have been in vain due to objection of China.

Last August, the pro-independence government of then-president Chen Shui-bian attempted to use the unofficial “Taiwan” title to apply to join the UN, only to provoke Beijing, which pressured the UN Secretariat to return the application letter even before it could make it to the General Assembly.

Taiwan’s new government, led by China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou, has decided to use a softer approach in order not to repeat the fate of the previous government, Hsia said.

Thinking that China is the key to Taiwan’s participation in global affairs, Ma has tried hard to improve relations with Beijing and resumed talks with the mainland in June. He has called for a diplomatic truce with China.

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