United Nations bid a serious mission: Chen

The China Post staff

President Chen Shui-bian said yesterday that the efforts of his administration and ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to seek membership at the United Nations are a painstaking yet serious mission that requires wholehearted support of the country’s compatriots.

Chen said in a speech to a conference of teachers in Hsinchu that his campaign for U.N. membership and national referendum is real, his effort is sincere, and he is not playing a game. He called for the Taiwan public not to be fooled any longer by the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), whose presidential candidate, Ma Ying-jeou, has also pushed for a U.N. bid referendum, but under the name of the Republic of China (ROC), instead of his bid under the name of “Taiwan.”

He blamed Chiang Kai-shek, former president and KMT chairman, for making a wrong decision in the early 1970s when he rejected a U.S. proposal to have both the ROC and the People’s Republic of China on the Chinese mainland represented in the U.N. when Beijing was offered the “China seat” in the U.N. at the expense of Taiwan.

He added that Taiwan has suffered the consequences of Chiang’s decision, which resulted in today’s painstaking efforts to rejoin the world body.

Chen complained that some people have recently said that he should apologize to the people for pushing ahead with a referendum on Taiwan’s U.N. bid, which has allegedly caused relations between Taiwan and the United States to sink to a new low.

He asked why he, a person who has worked ceaselessly to protect the rights of the Taiwan people, should apologize.

Noting that the people of Taiwan have been cheated by the KMT for decades when it comes to the country’s U.N. bid, Chen said the KMT’s attempt to pursue rejoining the U.N. under the ROC label will never succeed.

He again urged all of Taiwan’s people to join the rally to be held in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan Sept. 15 to drum up support for the efforts to push for Taiwan’s U.N. membership under the name Taiwan.

He also expressed hope that the number of signatures gathered in support of his referendum on the U.N. bid under the name Taiwan will exceed 8 million by the end of October.

After the new chill in relations with Washington, Chen is taking his causes outside the formal diplomatic channel. He will personally hold a video conference with U.S. think tank American Enterprise Institute on Sept. 6 to discuss issues related to the planned referendum on the nation’s bid to join the U.N. under the name Taiwan. Lee Nan-yang, director of the Presidential Office Department of Public Affairs, the video conference, titled “United Nations and Taiwan’s Democracy — Talks with President Chen Shui-bian,” will start at 9 p.m. Taipei time and end at 10:30 p.m.

The video conference will mainly target U.S. scholars, who will be allowed to ask impromptu questions, Lee said. Chen is also expected to make an immediate response to the results of bilateral talks to be held between U.S. President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of an informal leadership meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Sydney, Australia, on the same day.