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Taiwan Launches Annual Campaign to Join UN - 2001-08-09

Taiwan has launched its ninth annual campaign to join the United Nations. Taipei is showcasing its recent conciliatory moves to Beijing in its latest attempt for inclusion in the world body.

This year, 10 of its diplomatic allies have lodged a proposal for Taiwan to join the world body. El Salvador, Senegal, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, Chad, Tuvalu, Palau, and Belize jointly filed the request.

Taiwan's allies stressed the island's recent "conciliatory gestures" toward China as proof of its willingness to promote peace. These include the recent lifting of a 50 year ban on shipping between China and Taiwan's outlying islands and allowing mainland reporters to be based in Taiwan.

Since 1993, Taiwan's U.N. membership has been met by objections from China, which holds a permanent seat in the powerful U.N. Security Council. Beijing considers the island a renegade province that must be reunited with the mainland, peacefully if possible or by force if necessary.

Beijing's opposition to Taiwan's U.N. membership dates to end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 when Nationalist forces were driven to the island, while the communist party formed the People's Republic of China on the mainland. Until 1971, the Republic of China, the official name of Taiwan, was a member of the United Nations. In that year, members of the organization voted to give the seat to Beijing.

Pressure from Beijing has kept Taiwan diplomatically isolated for decades. Only 28 countries have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, most of them small nations in Africa, the Pacific, and Latin America.