The WHO’s insistence on referring to Taiwan as a part of China was a slap in the face for the so-called “1992 consensus” advocated by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.
Citing a letter sent by the WHO to the European Parliament’s Taiwan Friendship Group (TFG) that said the designation of “Taiwan, China” has been the organization’s consistent practice, DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said the letter showed there was no such thing as “one China with different interpretations,” as Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have claimed the consensus entails.
The letter, dated July 4 and signed by Gian Luca Berci, the WHO’s legal counsel, on behalf of WHO Secretary-General Margaret Chan (陳馮富珍), was in response to a TFG letter of protest in June.
The TFG letter accused the organization of undermining its own credibility by referring to Taiwan as a province of China.
“The fundamental statement of WHO’s policy is found in World Health Assembly Resolution 25.1, which states that the People’s Republic of China is the ‘only legitimate representative of China to the World Health Organization,’” the letter said.
“Since that resolution was adopted, the consistent practice of WHO has been to conduct itself, with respect to Taiwan, China on the basis that it is not a separate entity but a part of China. The United Nations and other specialized agencies have adopted very similar decisions and follow the same practice,” the letter said.
Three letters of protest were sent to the WHO after its reference to “Taiwan, China,” in May, including letters from Taiwan’s government, a US senator and the TFG, Kuan said.
Taiwan’s letter was sent in mid-May, but there has not been a reply from the WHO, Kuan told a press conference in Taipei.
Ma should explain why the WHO refers to Taiwan as a province of China if the “one China with different interpretations” principle stands, Kuan said, adding: “Ma should also explain when we can interpret ‘one China’ differently, because that never happened.”
The nation’s international participation has worsened to the point where it “couldn’t even defend the name of ‘Chinese Taipei,’” DPP spokesman Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said.
The WHO’s practice was an opportunity for Taiwanese to understand the “true face of the 1992 consensus,” which never represented the “one China with different interpretations” as Ma has insisted, he said.
The DPP also questioned Ma’s pro-China position, citing a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks that quoted Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) as saying Ma had sent a special envoy to China during his 2008 presidential campaign to ask Beijing to tone down its anti-Taiwan rhetoric so his campaign would not be jeopardized.
“We suspect Ma reached a secret agreement with the Chinese, which explains why he always has to kowtow to China,” DPP Legislator Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) said.
“I wonder if the WikiLeaks cables have told us the whole story. Were there more secret agreements [between Ma and China]?” DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said.
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Shen Ssu-tsun (沈斯淳) told a separate press conference that the ministry knew of the WHO’s reply to the TFG before Kuan disclosed it and had lodged a protest with the WHO.
The government has repeatedly registered its “stern protest” with the WHO over the “inappropriate reference” and will continue to negotiate with the WHO on the matter, Shen said.