Taiwan Declines to Pursue UN Membership བོད་སྐད།

Taiwan's foreign ministry says the island will not apply for membership to the United Nations this year.

Taiwan has tried and failed 16 straight times to take part in the U.N. and its activities. A U.N. General Assembly committee refused to forward Taipei's bid to to join 16 specialized agencies to the full assembly last year.

Taiwan lost its seat in the world body to Beijing in 1971, just over two decades after Mao Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists off the mainland fled to Taiwan after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong's communist forces.

China still claims Taiwan as part of its territory, and has blocked the self-ruled island's attempts to join the U.N. or any other international body.

Beijing has vowed to bring the self-ruled island under its rule, by force if necessary.

Relations between the cross-Strait rivals have improved since Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May 2008 and pursued better diplomatic and trade ties with Beijing.

Taipei's decision not to apply for U.N. membership this year was announced on the same day Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, left Taiwan after a five-day trip to visit survivors of last month's deadly typhoon.

China regards the spiritual leader as a separatist. It has canceled several planned trips to the island by Chinese delegations in response to the Dalai Lama's visit.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.