Minister of Health and Welfare-designate Lin Tzou-yien (林奏延) is to attend the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) on behalf of the incoming Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government, despite the invitation’s stipulation that Taiwan’s participation should be in accordance with the “one China” principle and UN Resolution 2758, future Cabinet spokesperson Tung Chen-yuan (童振源) said yesterday.
“The [incoming] government will not be absent from the WHA, and is to appoint Lin as the representative,” Tung told a news conference at the DPP’s headquarters in Taipei yesterday. “However, our participation does not mean that we accept the conditions proposed by the WHO secretariat, and we think it is unnecessary for the WHO to make the stipulation.”
Whether the government should send a representative to the meeting has caused controversy because it is the first time since Taiwan began participating in the WHA under the name “Chinese Taipei” in 2009 that it has received an invitation mentioning the “one China” principle and UN Resolution No. 2758, which was passed on Oct. 25, 1971, and recognized the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as “the only legitimate representative of China to the UN.”
Tung said that according to the WHO charter, the right to health is a fundamental and universal right, and that is why Taiwan would contribute to the WHO.
“The right of Taiwanese to fully participate in the international community should not be restricted by any political framework,” Tung said. “Therefore, the ‘one China’ principle based on UN Resolution 2758 added to the invitation issued by the WHO secretariat has no connection to Taiwan’s participation in the WHA.”
Thefore, the DPP has asked the government to continue to negotiate with the WHO over the “unnecessary connection” between Taiwan’s participation and the “one China” principle and requested that the Ministry of Health and Welfare clarify the stance in its reply to the WHO.
In related news, Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday shrugged off the controversy over the unprecedented “one China” proviso attached to the WHA invitation, saying Beijing is allowed to have its own interpretation of what “China” means under the so-called “1992 consensus.”
“The consensus states that both sides acknowledge there is one China, with each side having its own interpretation of what ‘China’ means. It is this consensus, along with [President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) pledges of] no independence, no unification and no use of force, that have allowed cross-strait ties to move from confrontation to peaceful development,” Wu said.
The “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) admitted making up in 2000 — is a tacit understanding reached between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese government in 1992 that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
Wu said he was once asked by lawmakers during a legislative question-and-answer session when he served as premier why Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), then-chairman of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, did not interpret “China” as the Republic of China (ROC) when he visited Taiwan.
“We should just let them [Beijing] have their own interpretation of what ‘China’ means and we could also have ours... This is the essence of the consensus of ‘one China, with different interpretations,’” Wu said.