President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday accused the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of failing to protest against the WHO addressing Taiwan as a province of China and defend the nation’s dignity when it was in power.
He challenged DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who will be his counterpart in the presidential election, over her participation in WHO events as a former vice premier under the banner of “Taiwan, China,” reiterating his demand that the DPP not engage in internal disputes with the government.
“Tsai participated in WHO--related activities six times under the banner of ‘Taiwan, China.’ Why didn’t the DPP withdraw from the events?” he said yesterday in his weekly online speech.
The name of the nation used by the WHO raised concerns after DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) disclosed a confidential WHO memo last week, in which WHO officials were instructed to refer to Taiwan as a province of China.
The Ma administration and the DPP have since traded blame over the issue, accusing each other of failing to defend the nation’s sovereignty in the international community. Department of Health (DOH) Minister Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達), meanwhile, promised to protest against the WHO when attending the WHA meeting this week.
Stepping up efforts to defend his administration, Ma yesterday invited former DOH ministers Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) and Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川) to discuss the nation’s WHO participation.
Ma said the nation was invited to attend the annual WHA as an observer under the banner “Chinese Taipei” starting two years ago, and the health body always referred to the DOH head as “minister.”
“We were finally able to attend the WHA after 38 years, and we had to use ‘Taiwan, China’ to attend some technical meetings during the former DPP government. The WHO did not change our title to ‘Chinese Taipei’ until I assumed office. We should not give up the chance and withdraw from the meeting,” he said.
Yaung joined Ma to protest against the WHO and China for addressing Taiwan as a province of China, but said participation in the WHO, which served as a major platform for countries to share health information and skills, remained crucial for Taiwan.
At a separate setting yesterday when asked for comments on the matter, Tsai said that Ma is the president and should shoulder responsibility and resolve the controversy concerning Taiwan’s name in the WHO.
The case does not have that much to do with the former DPP administration, she added.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER