Tue, May 10, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Legislators react to WHO ‘belittlement’

’ABRUPT AND UNREASONABLE’:During a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, three impromptu motions were passed

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Javier Hou, left, and Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Shih Hui-fen answer questions at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

Lawmakers across party lines yesterday passed several extemporaneous motions to express their opinions on the attachment of the “one China” principle to Taiwan’s invitation to this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA), which has been interpreted as yet another of Beijing’s attempts to browbeat the incoming Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.

Amid snowballing controversy over the WHO’s unprecedented mention of the “one China” principle in Taiwan’s WHA invitation, the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee yesterday invited officials from several government agencies to answer questions regarding China’s recent spate of moves to foil Taiwan in the international arena.

During the meeting, a total of three extemporaneous motions were passed, including one by pan-green lawmakers and two by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Proposed and signed by a number of lawmakers, including DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) and New Power Party Lawmaker Freddy Lim (林昶佐), the pan-green camp’s motion stated that UN Resolution 2758, which is also mentioned in the invitation, does not pertain to the representatives of the Taiwanese government and its people to the UN and all related organizations.

“We oppose any nation intervening with or discriminating against Taiwan’s participation in the WHA through political measures or based on political reasons,” the motion said, expressing gratitude to nations that have supported Taiwan’s participation at the annual assembly.

Adopted in 1971, UN Resolution 2758 recognized the People’s Republic of China as the only lawful representatives of China to the UN and expelled “the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) from the place which they unlawfully occupy at the UN and in all the organizations related to it.”

The second motion, proposed by KMT Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), said that the government has never recognized Beijing’s so-called “one China” principle because the government interprets “China” as the Republic of China.

“Beijing should face the facts that both sides of the Taiwan Strait have been governed by separate administrations,” Chiang’s motion reads, adding it is “unwise” for China to set preconditions for Taiwan’s participation in the WHO.

Another impromptu motion submitted by KMT Legislator Lu Yu-ling (呂玉玲) was also passed, which said the WHA’s invitation is an attempt to belittle Taipei.

It also urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Ministry of Health and Welfare to consult with the incoming DPP administration to draw up a letter to the WHO refuting the inclusion of UN Resolution 2758 in the invitation and reiterating Taiwan’s status as an independent nation.

When fielding questions from lawmakers at the meeting, MOFA Deputy Minister Javier Hou (侯清山) said it is reasonable to assume that the “one China” proviso is part of Beijing’s attempts to put pressure on president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

“Such a move is abrupt and unreasonable. In the past, [the WHO] simply invited us to participate at the annual assembly in a professional and dignified manner,” Hou said.

Prior to the meeting, Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Shih Hui-fen (施惠芬) said Mainland Affairs Council Minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) had expressed to his Chinese counterpart, Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), via the cross-strait hotline last month, the government’s aspiration to continue to participate in the WHA as an observer.

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