Taiwan defended Friday its UN membership bid and called "unacceptable" a US claim that the island is not a state in the international community.
"Such a claim is unacceptable and totally contrary to the fact," said Foreign Ministry spokesman David Wang, arguing that the island has existed as a sovereign independent state since 1949.
He was referring to a comment on Thursday by Dennis Wilder, National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs, that it would be unlikely for Taiwan to join the United Nations because it is not a sovereign state.
"Membership in the United Nations requires statehood. Taiwan, or the Republic of China, is not at this point a state in the international community," Wilder said, adding the US has found it "perplexing" for Taiwan to push for the holding of a UN membership referendum.
The senior White House official said given the fact that Taiwan is not going to be able to join the United Nations under current circumstances, the island's plan to hold the referendum would only add unnecessary tension to regional relations.
Wilder's comments came just days after US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte warned Taiwanese leader Chen Shui-bian against holding the planned referendum, calling it a mistake that would only worsen tensions between the two Chinese rivals.
In an interview with Hong Hong's Phoenix Satellite TV on Monday, Negroponte said the US is firmly opposed to such a referendum because Washington sees it as Taiwan's first step towards declaring independence and altering the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.
Negroponte urged the island's leader to honour his inauguration pledge that he would not seek independence during his term, and take a responsible attitude in promoting Taiwan's democracy and economy.
Negroponte's remark was the strongest warning US officials have made so far against Taiwan's upcoming UN referendum. The US has warned Taiwan and China against unilaterally changing the status quo and inflaming cross-Strait tensions.
On Friday, Wang said it was the most democratic and peaceful way for Taiwanese to express their wish to join the United Nations.
"I don't see anything wrong for us to seek to join the global body," he said, while also acknowledging that the quest was unattainable at the moment.
"It took Beijing 22 years to finally gain accession to the United Nations. If we don't try, we will have nothing," he said in rebutting Wilder's comment that the US has found it "perplexing" for the island to keep trying to knock on the UN door.
Taiwan's insistence is seen as provocative because the island stands virtually no chance of actually gaining membership in the UN, where it has only two dozen allies among the world's nations.
President Chen wants to hold a referendum on joining the UN when Taiwan holds its presidential election in March 2008.
Chen claimed that holding the referendum can unite Taiwan people and promote consensus on the UN issue, but China sees its as Taiwan's plot to seek independence.
The referendum will be particularly sensitive to China because it will ask Taiwanese if the island should apply for UN seat under the name of "Taiwan."
Taiwan's formal title is the Republic of China, the name of the government which lost mainland China to the Communists and moved to Taiwan to set up is government-in-exile in 1949.
China is worried that Taiwan is taking small steps to change its official name from ROC to Taiwan to achieve formal separation from China.
China sees Taiwan as its breakaway province and has warned that it would recover Taiwan by force if Taipei indefinitely delays unification talks or declares independence.
Last Mod: 31 Ağustos 2007, 15:03