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Taiwan Not Surprised by UN Rejection, Vows to Fight on

Taiwan says it regrets the United Nations has rejected its latest application for membership, but vowed to continue trying to join the international body.

Speaking with reporters Thursday in Taipei, foreign ministry spokesman David Wang said despite the setback, he still feels the push was successful because of the international attention it gave Taiwan.

China says rejection of Taiwan's bid highlights how the self-ruled island is part of its own territory. The two sides split during civil war in 1949 and China objects to Taiwan's membership in any international organizations that require sovereignty.

On Wednesday, the U.N. General Committee rejected a proposal from Taiwan to put its membership bid on the agenda of the General Assembly's annual meetings.

This year's bid was the 15th time Taiwan has attempted to join the U.N., but the first time it did so under the name of Taiwan, rather than its official title, the "Republic of China."

Taipei held a seat in the U.N. as the Republic of China until 1971 when control of the seat was transferred to the communist government in China.

Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian plans to hold a public referendum next year asking voters if the island should try to re-enter the U.N. under the name "Taiwan."

Both China and the United States have voiced opposition to the public ballot.