Wed, Aug 16, 2006 - Page 3 News List

UK committee's support for WHO bid earns praise

RESPONSE A British foreign affairs committee urged the government to help ensure Taiwan takes `a fuller part' in organizations dealing with health and the environment

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday expressed appreciation for a recommendation made by a British parliamentary committee urging its government to support Taiwan's bid to join the WHO as a full member.

"We conclude that Taiwan's exclusion from bodies addressing concerns in areas including health and [the] environment is unsatisfactory, particularly with the spread of avian influenza," the UK's Committee of Foreign Affairs of the House of Commons said in a report on Monday.

"We recommend that the government set out in its response to this report what measures it is taking to ensure that Taiwan takes a fuller part in organizations tackling such matters, and its attitude towards full membership of the World Health Organization [WHO] for Taiwan," the report said.

The report touched on issues such as politics, economics, human rights and China's rise and its impact on foreign policy and security. A total of 58 conclusions and recommendations are made in the 152-page report.

Regarding China's rise and its impact on foreign policy and security, the report urged the UK government to increase contacts with Taiwan at a political level, especially between Taiwan's elected representatives and elected members of the UK's democratic system.

It further recommended that the British government increase the number of informal ministerial visits to Taiwan to strengthen economic links between the two countries in a manner commensurate with the size of its economy.

The report recognized China's military build-up across the Taiwan Strait as a threat to peace and stability in East Asia, recommending that the UK government support US efforts to preserve peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

The report also urged all parties in the Taiwan dispute to seek a peaceful resolution, adding that the cross-strait military balance was shifting in China's favor as a result of Beijing's sustained economic growth, increased diplomatic leverage and improvements in military capabilities based within striking distance of Taiwan.

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