The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the government has completed registration for this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA) after its representatives submitted two letters in person responding to the WHO’s invitation.
At a news conference in Taipei, ministry spokeswoman Eleanor Wang (王珮玲) said Taiwan’s representative office in Geneva director Yi Chih-chen (易志成) personally delivered the government’s registration documents to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan’s (陳馮富珍) office at 2:30pm on Monday, the deadline for registering for the forum.
Wang said the documents included a letter written by Minister of Health and Welfare Chiang Been-huang (蔣丙煌) explaining that due to Taiwan’s transfer of power on May 20, the nation’s delegation for this year’s WHA session would be led by minister of health and welfare-designate Lin Tzou-yien (林奏延).
Also included was another letter written by Lin informing the WHO that he is to attend the WHA, which is to be held in Geneva from May 23 to May 28, and including a list of his delegation members, Wang said.
Asked whether the WHO’s failure to include a set of usernames and passwords for online registration in its WHA invitation to Taiwan — issued by Chan on Friday last week — constituted interference on a technicality, Wang said that this year’s situation was different than before.
“Since [the WHO] only began accepting online registration three years ago … there should not be a problem with registering face-to-face,” Wang said.
Department of North American Affairs Director-General Hsueh Mei-yu (薛美瑜) said that in addition to the US, many nations have supported and offered assistance to Taiwan’s participation in international organizations.
Premier Simon Chang (張善政) said one of the letters represented the past and the other the future, adding they should not be interpreted as a quarrel between the current and the incoming administrations.
With regard to the “one China” proviso attached to Taiwan’s invitation for WHA, Chang said the “China” in the UN’s “one China” principle refers to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which the government does not recognize.
“We must respond and cannot tacitly acknowledge the UN’s interpretation of ‘China’ as the PRC. We should let them know that both sides of the Taiwan Strait have reached a tacit understanding to have different interpretations of the ‘one China’ principle,” Chang said.
With regards to the Democratic Progressive Party’s hopes of disentangling people’s right to health from politics, Chang said such an “ideal concept” might not be permitted by international reality.
The WHA invitation, which was addressed to Chiang, has galvanized an outpouring of criticism within the nation, as it is the first time such an invitation has come with a catch — mentions of UN Resolution 2758, WHA Resolution 25.1, and the “one China” principle.
UN Resolution 2758, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1971, recognizes the People’s Republic of China as the only lawful representative of China to the UN, while WHA Resolution 25.1, adopted at the 25th WHA in 1972, expelled the Republic of China from the WHO.