Mon, May 22, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Chen urges public to keep faith with nation's WHA bid

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

As the nation will make its 10th attempt to join the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer today, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday encouraged the public to have faith and persevere in the endeavor.

"The international community will gradually come to understand how unfairly we have been treated, especially with respect to our bid to join the World Health Organization and change the name of the Taiwanese chapter of the Lions Club," Chen said.

Chen made the remarks in an opening speech delivered at the annual meeting of the Taiwan chapter of the Lions Club in Keelung City (基隆) yesterday.

In April 2002, the headquarters of the Lions Clubs International in Chicago decided to change the name of the Taiwanese chapter from "ROC Lions Club" to "China Taiwan Lions Club." The national flag was also removed from the the chapter's membership flag.

Although a temporary agreement was reached whereby the national Lions Club is known as "Taiwan Area MD300," the name still does not reflect the fact that Taiwan is a sovereign nation as "MD300" refers to the chapter's code number.

Chen said that he expects to see more repression from China as the club continues to push for its name to be changed and vies to hold the Lions Clubs International annual meeting in 2012.

Citing his recently concluded state visit to Latin America, Chen said that as long as the public does not give up, the nation would eventually succeed in winning the support of the international community.

"My overseas trip was indeed a tough one," he said. "However, roads are made by determined people and God will not close all the doors. I believe if we have faith and unite together, we will prevail."

Despite China's implacable suppression, Chen said that the hard work put in over the years was beginning to bear fruit.

Commenting on growing international support for the nation's WHA bid, Chen said Japan and the US had voted in favor of Taiwan's effort two years ago. This year, the European Parliament passed a resolution backing the nation's WHA bid and the EU expressed concern over the issue, he said.

The revised International Health Regulations (IHR), he said, also allow the nation more opportunities to participate in the international community.

Taiwan has notified the WHO of its decision to implement and comply with the revised IHR. The nation's commitment to comply with the regulations means that it is covered by the IHR framework and that the WHO will do its best to assist with Taiwan's disease control and prevention efforts.

In a bid to boost the nation's WHA bid, Chen held a two-hour teleconference with health experts and academics in Geneva on Friday, urging the WHO to grant Taiwan observer status as it is not a requirement for observers to be sovereign states.

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