China has condemned rival Taiwan's bid for United Nations membership, saying it would threaten peace in the region. Taiwan launched its 14th annual bid on Friday with a call for the world body to pay more attention to East Asian security issues. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the rejection of Taiwan's 13 previous bids shows "there is only one China in the world and Taiwan, as part of China, is not qualified to join the United Nations." "China strongly opposes it," Jiang said in a statement posted late Friday on the ministry's Web site. Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949 and Beijing still considers the island to be part of its territory. It took over Taiwan's UN seat in 1971 and says the self-governing island of 23 million people has no right to conduct foreign relations or to join international organizations. In the past it has successfully pressured UN members to oppose Taiwan's bids.