Wed, May 21, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Lien blasts China for isolating nation in its hour of need

HURT FEELINGS The KMT chairman, who in late March had been cultivating ties with Beijing, spoke out against China for blocking the nation's WHO bid

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

In an interview with CNN yesterday, KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) expressed his regret over the nation's failed bid to enter the World Health Organization (WHO) and condemned China for isolating Taiwan from the international community.

Taiwan's bid to gain observer status at the World Health Assembly (WHA) was rejected for a seventh time on Monday thanks to an unprecedented effort led by China's Vice Premier and Minister of Health Wu Yi (吳儀) to mobilize Beijing's allies against Taipei.

In the interview with CNN reporter Mike Chinoy, Lien said that China's move to block Taiwan from the international health body had hurt the feelings of the Taiwanese.

In recounting Lien's remarks made during the half-hour interview at KMT headquarters, party spokesman Alex Tsai (蔡正元) said, "Both sides of the Taiwan Strait should treat each other like neighbors."

Noting that SARS is a problem not just for Taiwan but also for the international community, Lien said the two sides of the Strait should respect each other and work together to fight this common threat.

"It is a new era with new challenges surfacing. We hope that Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), being China's new leader, would muster new courage and adopt a new mind-set when tackling these events," Tsai quoted Lien as saying.

China completed a leadership transition in mid-March during which Hu assumed the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the presidency of China.

When asked to comment on the Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) administration's effort to beat SARS, Lien said that one should withhold criticism for later as the priority now is on efficiently and effectively containing the epidemic.

Nonetheless, Lien said that, given the DPP administration's lack of experience, it acted in somewhat of a frenzy and state of confusion in the early stages of the outbreak.

"We hope the government will soon get its act together in the fight against the disease," Lien said.

When asked if SARS would impact his presidential campaign, Lien said the disease is a separate issue and stressed that fighting the outbreak is a task that must be carried out regardless of party affiliation.

Lien will run for president in next year's elections.

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