The World Trade Organization accepted Taiwan's membership Sunday, a day after approving rival China.
"We feel extremely happy and gratified," Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian said in Taipei, shortly after trade ministers applauded the "historic moment."
China was moving fast meanwhile to formalize its membership.
Foreign trade minister Shi Guangsheng was expected to give the ratification documents, signed by Chinese Premier Jiang Zemin, to WTO Director-General Mike Moore on Sunday night. China will become a full-fledged member Dec. 11, he said.
Most nations take months to complete ratification.
Elsewhere . . .
MACEDONIA HOSTAGES: Gunmen were holding dozens of people hostage in a small village in northwestern Macedonia on Sunday. As many as 70 people were taken captive after the armed group entered the ethnically mixed village of Semsovo, 5 miles northeast of Tetovo, Goran Mitevski, a senior police official, told Skopje's Telma TV. Earlier in the day, 15 others were abducted along the main road in the region, including the director of a local Macedonian-language station in Tetovo and the town's police chief, police said.
INDONESIA RIOTS: Riots erupted Sunday after an independence leader was kidnapped and killed in Irian Jaya. Villagers found the body of Theys Eluay, 64, in his wrecked car in a ravine 18 miles east of the provincial capital, Jayapura. Police have no suspects.
COLOMBIA MASSACRE: Paramilitary gunmen accused 12 villagers in central Colombia of being leftist guerrillas and shot them dead, the army said Sunday. Fighters from the outlawed United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, the AUC, killed the men late Saturday in El Choco, 100 miles north of Bogota, said Capt. Luis Hernandez.