Still another exercise in futility

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TAIPEI, Taiwan, The China Post Editorial

Taiwan is launching its twelfth bid to rejoin the United Nations, from which it was kicked out in 1971. Fifteen diplomatic allies have presented a proposal to resolve the question of Taiwan’s representation in the world body to Kofi Annan, U.N. secretary general, requesting that the case be discussed at the General Assembly when it meets in mid-September.

They argued for the first time, at the request of Taipei, that current high tensions between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, would be alleviated if the island were allowed to return to the United Nations. Like in the past 11 attempts, Taipei’s current diplomatic offensive will be an exercise in futility. The proposal certainly would go to the General Committee, which decides on the U.N. General Assembly agenda, where it would be dismissed even without a vote, just as it was in each of the last 11 years.

The reason is simple. The People’s Republic of China, which is one of the five Security Council permanent member states, is opposed to Taiwan’s accession, and not enough countries dare defy Beijing. And as if to make sure that the proposal is rejected outright, Taipei has compelled its 15 allies, all of them small developing countries, to advance the unbelievable argument that its presence in the United Nations could ease the tensions across the Strait. The plain fact is that the argument itself heightens the tensions, the steadily rising of which has been Taipei’s own making in the first place. Since assumption of office in 2000, President Chen Shui-bian has never ceased to provoke Beijing, the bad boy he whipped the hardest during his long re-election campaign to assure himself, together with the mysterious shooting incident on March 19, of a second term. The shooting in which he was grazed was broadcast as a Beijing-managed assassination attempt on that night by underground radio stations the Government Information Office wants to legalize before a National Communications Commission is inaugurated. Perhaps President Chen wants to insure the failure of Taipei’s latest attempt to knock on the U.N. door. He can tell the people how unreasonable the People’s Republic of China is and try to win their sympathy and support for his policy of undeclared independence. He wishes to give them a new Constitution when he steps down in 2008, and that Constitution may well turn out to be that of an independent Republic of Taiwan.