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Taiwan Regrets Another Failed Bid for UN Membership - 2004-09-16

Taiwan says it regrets the United Nations' decision not to consider allowing the island a seat in the world body. Taiwan's foiled bid is seen as another victory in China's efforts to diplomatically isolate the self-governed island.

Taiwan's bid for a seat in the United Nations was rejected Wednesday in New York without a vote. There were no objections from members when the General Assembly president moved to exclude the issue from the agenda.

It was Taiwan's 12th attempt for a U.N. seat in as many years. But China has mounted a strong campaign to diplomatically isolate the island, which it claims is part of its territory.

In all, 21 countries voiced support for Taiwan's bid, while 93 were against it.

In his speech before the General Assembly, China's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya says Taiwan's effort is aimed at creating two Chinas.

Ambassador Wang says it is a "brazen challenge" to the one-China policy.

Hours before the vote, Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian held a video conference with reporters and condemned China's efforts to block the island's bid as "political apartheid."

Mr. Chen says that Taiwan's pursuit for U.N. participation does not challenge China's place in the organization. He adds that Taiwan is Taiwan and its 23 million people deserve U.N. representation.

Chinese nationalist forces fled to Taiwan at the end of a civil war in 1949. Taiwan held the United Nations seat until 1971, when the United Nations voted to give the seat to mainland China.

Since President Chen Shui-bian's re-election in May, China has ratcheted up criticism against what it considers Mr. Chen's moves toward declaring the island independent. Certain groups in Mr. Chen's the Democratic Progressive Party - favor independence but Mr. Chen has distanced himself from that view.

Earlier this week, Beijing has denounced President Chen's proposal to use the name "Taiwan" more often than the island's official name - the Republic of China.