Fri, Nov 12, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan fails in bid to be listed in WHO health regulations


Although it yesterday became apparent that Taiwan has failed in its bid to be included in the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Health Regulations (IHR), China and a host of other countries have agreed to discuss the proposal further in the future.

The meeting in Geneva to revise the regulations draws to a close today.

"Although we did not achieve our original goal, we are encouraged by what happened over the past 10 days. Our bid has drawn attention and recognition, which will create more space for future efforts," said Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡), director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Mission in Geneva.

The WHO started a 12-day revision of the IHR on Nov. 1. Taiwan's diplomatic ally Nicaragua proposed amending Article 65 in the draft revision of the regulations, which regulates how states that are not members of the WHO may become parties to the IHR.

During the course of the meetings, 42 WHO member states supported or identified with Taiwan's appeal, whereas 16 nations took China's side in opposing it. Only the US and 16 of Taiwan's allies publicly voiced support for Nicaragua's proposal. Canada and EU countries did not reveal their position on the matter but stressed that they recognize the WHO's principle of universality, the Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

Over the years, Taiwan has been put in an "absolutely unfavorable" position on all occasions associated with the WHO, Shen said.

"This time, however, the situation has been partly favorable to our cause. Although Taiwan's delegation was barred from all the meetings over the past two weeks, we were fully informed of what went on in the discussions. We need to thank our allies, the US and EU nations for their support," the diplomat said.

In a subgroup meeting on Wednesday, Nicaragua's representative told participating WHO members that it would not exclude the possibility of continued negotiations to amend Article 65 outside the WHO.

Members discussing the possible amendment of Article 65 finally decided to subject the proposal to further consultation, CNA reported. China's representative to the meeting also agreed to discuss the matter in the future, according to CNA.

"We still face daunting challenges ahead. However, there will always be room for efforts if the door of opportunity is not totally shut," Shen said.

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