TAIPEI -- Two referendums in Taiwan on joining the United Nations dismally failed to muster enough support to pass, according to figures provided by the central election commission Saturday.
Only about 35 percent of eligible voters bothered to cast their ballot in the referendums, far below the 50 percent needed to validate the result, the figures showed.
The referendums were held alongside Taiwan's presidential election, won by the opposition Kuomintang's Ma Ying-jeou.
Central election commission chairman Chang Cheng-hsiung said one referendum put forward by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) attracted only 35.82 percent of voters.
The other, proposed by the opposition KMT, mustered 35.76 percent.
The votes were controversial because Taiwan lost its UN seat to Beijing in 1971 and is now recognized diplomatically by just 23 countries.
Its past 15 attempts to rejoin the world body have been repeatedly blocked by Beijing, which claims the island as part of its territory.
The DPP proposal called for the island to seek membership under the name of Taiwan.
China strongly opposed the move, seeing it as a push for formal independence and warning it could threaten peace in the region.
Washington, Taiwan's key ally, and the European Union also expressed their concerns.
The KMT version would have had Taiwan join under any mutually acceptable name, and was seen as less sensitive.