New York, Sept. 22 (CNA) Taiwanese legislators and hundreds of Taiwanese expatriates held a march in New York on Saturday to promote Taiwan's ambition to join the United Nations.
The march came days after the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly opened Tuesday, with the annual general debate scheduled for Sept. 25 to Oct. 1.
People from Taiwanese communities in New York, Boston and Washington started the 3.2-kilometer march from the Chinese Consulate-General in New York and headed toward Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in front of U.N. headquarters.
Opposition New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), who has participated twice in marches pushing for U.N. membership for Taiwan, said China has spared no effort to squeeze Taiwan's international space and has used its influence to keep Taiwan out of the world body.
But Hsu said he believed Taiwan will be able to join the U.N. one day if Taiwan's younger generations continue to demand participation in the organization.
Various flags and slogans showing support for Taiwan's desire to join the U.N. and expressing opposition to China's suppression were brandished at the gathering place for the march, while the door of the Chinese Consulate-General across the street was closed.
Led by Hsu and legislators Lin Ching-yi (林靜儀), Lee Li-feng (李麗芬) and Chen Man-li (陳曼麗), the march passed by several New York landmarks, including Times Square, Grand Central Station, and the Chrysler Building.
Participants shouted slogans including "Keep Taiwan Free," "UN for Taiwan" and "Taiwan is Taiwan," that drew the support of local onlookers.
The march finished at U.N. Headquarters about 90 minutes later, according to event organizer "Keep Taiwan Free," which put the rally's turnout at about 500.
Because of China's influence, not only has Taiwan been kept out of the world body but Taiwan's passport holders are not allowed to enter U.N. Headquarters, which the lawmakers said was unfair to Taiwan.
They called on the U.N. and the international community to support Taiwan, which upholds the values of human rights and democracy, and live up to their commitment as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to leave no one behind.
Hsu Li-wen (徐儷文), head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, said participation in the U.N. system is a longstanding goal that the government and people have worked for as part of Taiwan's desire to become a constructive member of the international community.
Taiwan, under the official country name the Republic of China, was expelled from the U.N. in 1971. Its seat was taken over by the People's Republic of China as the "only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations."
It has since tried to join the body as a separate member, to no avail, and engage in meaningful participation in the U.N.'s many organizations.