The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday rejected Beijing's invitation to join the Chinese team in revising the WHO's International Health Regulations, calling the move an attempt to deceive the international community.
Taiwan is seeking to be included in the regulations -- the WHO's only legally-binding instrument for preventing the spread of infectious diseases -- as the UN body's Intergovernmental Working Group began a second-round of revisions of the regulations.
The group's meeting began in Geneva on Monday and will conclude on Saturday. Taiwan, which seeks to gain WHO observer status, failed to be included in the working group's first-round revision of the regulations in November.
The Beijing-based Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention invited officials from Taiwan's Center for Disease Control to join the Chinese delegation before the working group meeting began, according to the foreign affairs ministry.
"China knows we would never send officials to join its delegation. The political motives behind the invitation are more than obvious," the ministry said in a press release.
"Beijing attempted to create the impression that Taiwan is governed by China and that it takes care of the health of the Taiwanese people. The fact is that Taiwan and China do not belong to each other," the statement added.
Wang Hsiu-hung (
"We hope the WHO will respond positively to the request on humanitarian grounds," the ministry said.
China's representative to the UN in Geneva, Sha Zukang (
"The [health regulation] revision meeting is an occasion where Taiwan can actively seek participation in the WHO. There is no reason why Taiwan's 23 million people should be excluded from the network," ministry spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said.
MOFA officials, who requested anonymity, said Taiwan has sought US, Japan and EU help for its inclusion in the meeting.
Taiwan's diplomatic ally Nicaragua has proposed revising Article 65 of the international health regulations to include not only non-member states of the WHO but also "territories" which can enforce codes of practice to prevent the spread of disease under the [health body's] umbrella, the officials said.
If the proposal had passed, Taiwan would have been able to join the meeting as a territory and a "health entity," bypassing the question of Taiwan's disputed status in the international community.