Wed, May 10, 2017 - Page 1 News List

DPP lawmakers condemn China after WHA snub

By Chen Wei-han, Cheng Hung-ta and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Democratic Progressive Party members of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee and the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee hold a news conference in Taipei yesterday to condemn the WHO secretariat for not inviting Taiwan to take part in the World Heath Assembly.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday denounced China’s obstruction of Taiwan’s participation at this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA), while Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should do more to deal with China’s actions than just tweeting.

Taiwan did not receive an invitation to the WHA by Monday — the final day for online registration — with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office attributing the nation’s exclusion to its refusal to recognize the so-called “1992 consensus” and the “one China” principle.

DPP members of the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee and the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee yesterday issued a joint statement condemning China and the WHO for Taiwan’s exclusion on political grounds.

Legislators decried China’s obstruction and the WHO’s acquiescence to Beijing, which they said went against the WHO’s principle of ensuring health for all regardless of religious, ethnic or political differences.

Last year, Taiwan received an invitation after the online registration deadline and the possibility remains that the nation would be able to participate this year, DPP Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) said.

“We urge the WHO to uphold its principle of ‘leaving no one behind’ and correct the mistake [of excluding Taiwan] before the WHA meeting begins,” Wang said. “It is extremely humiliating that 23 million Taiwanese are excluded from the global disease prevention network.”

During the SARS epidemic in 2003, Taiwan’s reaction to the fatal disease was initially slow as the nation was not a WHO member, causing delays in disease control information exchange, DPP Legislator Lin Ching-yi (林靜儀) said.

Taiwan applied for WHO membership the same year, but was rejected, with a Chinese representative to the WHO spurning the request, saying: “Who cares about you?” to the Taiwanese delegation, Lin said.

Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHA this year “demonstrates again how rude and barbaric China is,” Lin said.

“China’s obstruction will only distance the Taiwanese public from China. Beijing has to take full responsibility for a possible deterioration in cross-strait relations,” DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said.

Separately yesterday, the KMT legislative caucus criticized the Presidential Office after Tsai tweeted for the 11th time calling for Taiwan’s inclusion at the WHA.

The situation warrants a more coherent response than tweeting, the caucus said.

KMT Legislator Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) said Taiwan has made many contributions to global health, and epidemic prevention and management under the WHO, but the Tsai administration has done little other than posting on Twitter.

China’s position is clear and the ball is in Tsai’s court, she said, adding that social media platforms are useful for promoting policies during an election, but tweeting is not useful for making policy after taking the reins of government.

“The government should think about how to respond to international realities and Tsai knows full well what the key to the problem is. It is fine not to recognize the ‘1992 consensus,’ but if so the government should consider an alternative framework for cross-strait relations,” Lee said.

The DPP slammed former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) policy to participate in the WHA under the name “Chinese Taipei” by saying this policy “lowers the nation’s dignity,” Lee said.

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