Taiwan's 15th bid for UN membership rejected

The United Nations refused Taiwan's 15th request for membership Wednesday.

The United Nations refused Taiwan's 15th request for membership Wednesday.

A UN committee decided not to allow the issue onto the agenda at the 62nd General Assembly.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had said it would not be "legally possible" to grant Taiwan membership.

"By resolution 27-58 of 1971, the General Assembly decided to recognize … the People's Republic of China as the only legitimate representatives of China," he said.

China and Taiwan separated during civil war in 1949 when the Communist party forced nationalist forces to retreat to Taipei, where they set up a government.

The Communist party formed the People's Republic of China on the mainland and asserted sovereignty over the entire country. Beijing considers Taiwan to be a breakaway province.

But neither Ban's statement nor threats of a Chinese attack if Taiwan declares independence deterred its politicians and citizens. More than 250,000 people attended pro-UNmembership rallies in Taiwan over the weekend.

The bid also attracted some high-profile support in the United States. Several members of the U.S. Congress, as well as former senator Bob Dole, called on the White House to support Taiwan.

A two-page advertisement promoting the bid also ran in the New York Times on Wednesday.

With files from the Associated Press