Thu, Jan 19, 2006 - Page 1 News List

China reneges on Taiwan's invitation

By Jenny Chou  /  STAFF REPORTER

Department of Health (DOH) officials yesterday expressed regret that Taiwan had not been invited to a conference on bird flu held in Beijing from Jan. 17-18, saying that China's deliberate efforts to exclude Taiwan from the meeting left the nation standing alone in the fight against bird flu.

DOH officials said that despite China sending out the message at other conferences that Taiwan would be invited to the Beijing conference, they failed to produce the goods at the last minute.

Head of the DOH's Bureau of International Cooperation Chang Wu-hsiu (張武修) said,"We tried up until the last minute to get an invitation but we didn't get a response from the organizers. In any case, we will keep on trying."

DOH officials said that although Taiwan's efforts against bird flu have been recognized internationally, as have its efforts in helping less advantaged countries in Asia in their fight against bird flu, investigations into bird flu medication and vaccinations shouldn't be underestimated and make Taiwan's involvement crucial. As well as weakening Taiwan's defenses against bird flu, such exclusions would also minimize Taiwan's ability to contribute to the global efforts, officials said.

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