As a member of the global village, Taiwan has every right to join the WHO to provide its 23 million people the best medical care and to give back to the world what Taiwan has received, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday.
\n"Taiwan realizes the true meaning of `healthcare without borders' after the devastating earthquake that rocked the island on Sept. 21, 1999," Chen said. "We've managed to get back on our feet again and are ready to give back to the world what the world has given us."
\nChen made the remark during the opening ceremony of the "Strategy and Role Assignment of People's Mobilization to Join the WHO" symposium yesterday morning.
\nThe one-day event, co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Health and 26 non-governmental organizations (NGO), drew about 500 people to the International Convention Center in Taipei.
\nAlthough it took Taiwan 12 years to join the WTO, Chen said that he expects it will not take as long to get accession to the WHO.
\n"I believe it won't take as long as 12 years to become a member of the global public-health body as long as the government and its people work hand in hand, braving difficulties and grasping every possible opportunity," he said.
\nChen said that both the government and NGOs should emulate the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize winning NGO, Medecins Sans Frontieres, to offer needy countries Taiwan's most advanced medical and public health know-how and resources.
\n"Because it not only saves lives but also builds friendship as well as upgrades Taiwan's international profile," Chen said.
\nChen also expressed appreciation for the recent international support for Taiwan's bid to join the WHO.
\n"It's encouraging to see that the European Parliament passed a resolution on March 14 to call on the World Health Assembly (WHA) -- the WHO's highest decision-making body -- to accept Taiwan in the capacity of an observer," Chen said. "The US Congress also passed an act on March 19 in support of Taiwan's accession to the WHA as an observer."
\nMinister of Foreign Affairs, Eugene Chien (
PHOTO: LIAO RAY-SHANG, TAIPEI TIMES
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