UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ China expressed ``utmost indignation'' Wednesday over a statement from Taiwan's president urging the United Nations to readmit the island nation.

Taiwan was expelled from the world body in 1971 when the People's Republic of China was admitted. The statement was circulated on Taiwan's behalf by friendly countries.

The statement, presented as a commemoration of the U.N.'s 50th anniversary, notes that Taiwan was a founding member of the organization and held a permanent seat on the Security Council. It argues that as the world's 19th-largest economy with 21 million citizens, Taiwan should not be excluded.

``This aberrant situation, which has lasted for 24 years, is at variance with the principles and spirit of the (U.N.) Charter,'' Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui said in the statement. ``It is high time for the United Nations to face this issue seriously and search for a solution.''

China, which considers Taiwan a part of China, said the statement is a ``gross encroachment upon and interference in China's sovereignty and internal affairs.''

It ``undermines the grand cause of China's reunification by taking advantage of this solemn forum of the United Nations,'' Chinese Ambassador Qin Huasun said in his letter of protest.

Taiwan's statement was submitted by Nicaragua and the Solomon Islands.