Taiwan UN bid in breach of law, China scholar says

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BEIJING, Sep 17 (Reuters) Taiwan's push for a referendum on U.N. membership is in breach of the law and would bring ''serious danger'', a Chinese scholar said in a signed commentary carried by state media today.

Since the end of a civil war in 1949 that saw Mao Zedong's Communists sweep to power on the mainland, China has regarded self-governing Taiwan as a renegade province and has said it would use force if necessary to bring it back into the fold.

Strains have been building over Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian's plans to hold a referendum alongside Taiwan's presidential election next March on whether the island should seek UN membership under the name Taiwan.

Dang Chaosheng, of the Taiwan Studies Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said UN resolutions accept that there is only ''one China'' and that Taiwan is a part of China.

''Taiwan has no qualification whatsoever to join the United Nations under any name or in any way, as statehood is required for membership in the world body,'' Dang wrote in the article published in the Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily and carried by the official Xinhua news agency.

The referendum bid would bring ''instant and serious danger'' to both sides of the Strait, he said.

About 250,000 people demonstrated in two Taiwan cities on Saturday to back the island's doomed efforts at securing UN membership.

Repeated efforts by Taiwan to join the United Nations under the name Republic of China have failed, and the new attempt is certain to fail as well, with the island recognised by just 24 countries across the world compared with 170 recognising China.

The United Nations ousted Taipei in favour of Beijing in 1971 and China's status as a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council means the island stands no chance of entry.

Reuters RC VP0650

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