The General Assembly today agreed to consider 163 agenda items during the annual session that began this week but decided for the fifteenth consecutive year to exclude a bid by some Member States to discuss the representation of Taiwan, Province of China in the world body.
In a vote by consensus after a marathon debate on the Taiwanese item involving 140 speakers, Assembly members adopted the recommendation of the General Committee on the allocation of agenda items during this session, its sixty-second.
The 163 agenda items that were approved include questions of international peace and security, sustainable development, human rights, development in Africa, humanitarian assistance, justice and international law, disarmament and the fight against drugs, crime and terrorism. It also includes many organizational and administrative matters.
But Assembly members agreed with the General Committee’s recommendation not to include the item entitled “urging the Security Council to process Taiwan’s membership application pursuant to rules 59 and 60 of the provisional Rules of the Procedure of the Security Council and Article 4 of the Charter of the United Nations.”
Ambassador Tamsir Jallow of Gambia said Taiwan deserved its own membership in the UN because it was not a part of China and had an independent government and economy. Continuing to deny the membership infringed the human rights of Taiwan’s 23 million people, he said.
Mr. Jallow said it was unfortunate that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had returned a letter sent to him by Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian asking Mr. Ban to refer the matter of the membership application to the Security Council.
But Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya said the decision reflected the common will of a majority of UN Member States and there was no doubt that Taiwan was a part of China. He said no other sovereign State would allow one of its regions to apply for UN membership.
Mr. Wang also said that General Assembly resolution 2758, adopted in 1971, had long resolved the matter.