Wed, May 28, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Chen says Taiwan should be allowed into health body

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday reiterated that there was no reason for the country to be excluded from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Chen made the comment yesterday at the DPP Central Standing Committee meeting, to which Wu Shu-min (吳樹民), chairman of the Foundation of Medical Professionals Alliance, and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Kau (高英茂) had been invited to report on Taiwan's bid to become a WHO observer.

Chen said he appreciated Wu and Kau's efforts in trying to obtain observership for the country at the World Health Assembly meeting last week.

The president said that although Taiwan had failed for the seventh time in its bid, the issue had served as a focal point for the nation's people and provided a contrast to China's abominable interference in thwarting Taiwan.

"We have to make clear again that no country can deprive or restrict the health-care rights of people in another country," Chen said.

He said Taiwan did not deserve to be excluded from the WHO as the country has achieved a high-quality health-care system over the past few decades even though it was alienated from the global medical community.

The country has even frequently offered medical assistance to other countries, he said.

To break out of its awkward diplomatic situation, the government should strive to solicit international support using all available channels, including a referendum on the nation's bid to enter the WHO, Chen said.

"The brave voice of Taiwan's people demonstrates our determination to be included in the WHO, and only through a vote of the people can the world hear our sincere call," Chen said.

DPP Deputy Secretary General Lee Ching-yung (李進勇) said China's rudeness at the WHO further highlighted the urgent need to hold a plebiscite to counter its recent suppression of Taiwan.

Lee cited a series of moves from China to block Taiwan from participating in the international community.

On Monday last week, China's Health Minister Wu Yi (吳儀) spoke against Taiwan's bid to be a WHO observer.

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