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UN Again Rejects Taiwan's Membership Bid

The United Nations has rejected another application from Taiwan for membership in the international body.

The U.N.'s General Committee Wednesday rejected Taiwan's proposal to put its latest membership bid on the agenda of the General Assembly's annual meetings, which began Tuesday.

This was the 15th consecutive year Taiwan has attempted to join the U.N., but it was the first time it did so under the name Taiwan, rather than as the Republic of China.

Chinese state media quoted a statement to the committee by China's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guanghua. He told representatives that the Taiwan question is purely an internal Chinese affair and said that 15-year farce should be stopped.

Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian plans to hold a public referendum next year asking voters if the island should try to re-enter the U.N. under the name "Taiwan."

China and the United States object to the proposed referendum, saying it could provoke renewed instability in the Taiwan Strait.

Taipei held a seat in the U.N. as the Republic of China until 1971 when it lost it to the mainland Chinese government.

China considers the self-ruled island to be a renegade province with no rights to sovereignty.

Taiwan split from China in 1949 during China's civil war. Beijing has threatened to take military action if Taiwan's government declares formal independence from the mainland.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.