Letter: Remember Taiwan

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Sir: It is wonderful to see how the rights of small potential nations are defended, even if action is often inadequate or too late. We saw war fought in the name of the Kosovo Albanians, and now international action to help the East Timorese.

However, the rights of a much bigger country of more than 21 million people are still denied. This week a proposal simply for a debate on admitting Taiwan to the UN was again rejected without even a vote, and the USA publicly came out against the idea.

It reaffirmed its "one China" policy, and its "no" to Taiwanese independence. As ever, the British government took the same line.

That means there are 21 million people with no right to independence, diplomatic relations or representation in the UN, the World Health Organisation and other international bodies. What have the Taiwanese done to deserve this? Should they not have the right to self-determination, just like the East Timorese, Kosovo Albanians, Palestinians and others?

Presumably if it had been China standing behind the oppressors in Kosovo and East Timor, the West would have been happy to allow them to do as they pleased, rather than risk losing out on a share in the world's biggest marketplace.

GILES WITTON

Taipei, Taiwan

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