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There was never any doubt about the outcome of Taiwan’s bid to regain a seat in the United Nations. For the 15th time in as many years, the U.N. rejected Taipei’s call to return to the world body. The application did not even make it to the General Assembly agenda, having been blocked by the General Assembly’s General Committee amid adamant opposition from China.

Beijing insists that the island is a part of the “one China” and Taipei’s efforts to claim a seat at the U.N. are part of a campaign to promote independence. That may be true, at least as far as Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian and his backers are concerned, but the sentiments behind the U.N. bid do reflect the Taiwan people’s deep-seated yearning for respect and the assertion of their identity as Taiwanese. To confuse those aspirations with partisan politics will compound tensions.

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