Taiwan's hopes of joining the United Nations were dashed again Thursday after its 15th attempt at membership failed amid opposition from China, which regards the island as part of its territory.
Foreign ministry spokesman David Wang said Taiwan regretted the decision by the UN General Assembly but would not give up the fight.
"It was not a surprise that our effort was blocked again, but we have successfully highlighted the issue in the international community," Wang told a press conference.
The assembly's 22-member general committee agreed by consensus during a meeting Wednesday in New York not to put Taiwan's membership issue on the agenda of the assembly's 62nd session.
Taiwan, under its official name the Republic of China, lost its UN seat to China in 1971.
Its efforts to rejoin using its official title have been repeatedly shot down by Beijing, which considers the UN bid a step towards declaring independence.
Despite warnings from the United States and opposition from China, the government of pro-independence President Chen Shui-bian switched to applying for UN membership with the name "Taiwan" this year.
"This shows once again no one can change the fact that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement reacting to the assembly's decision.
"Anyone who challenges the one-China principle and plots to split China will utterly fail," she said.
"China is bullying us with all its might," Wang said. "We knew it was a highly difficult task and we will continue our efforts in the years to come."
The latest membership knock-back followed a mass rally in Taiwan's southern Kaohsiung where hundreds of thousands of people supported Chen's plan to hold a UN referendum alongside March presidential elections.
"Shutting Taiwan people out of the UN for such a long time is unfair and unjust. The 23 million Taiwanese people have the right to become a UN member," Joseph Wu, Taiwan's representative in the US, told reporters in New York.
Earlier this month at the APEC summit in Sydney, US President George W. Bush and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao voiced concerns over Taipei's referendum plan.
The two leaders considered the vote provocative, with Hu telling Bush that the move could destabilise the region and urging him to issue a stern warning to Taiwan.
The White House pledged to use its influence to try to persuade Taiwan to change its mind.
Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2007, 16:03