Sat, Apr 14, 2007 - Page 3 News List

WHO plan could jeopardize WHA bid, KMT complains

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday challenged the government's plan to apply for WHO membership under the name "Taiwan."

It questioned whether such a change in strategy may jeopardize the nation's efforts over the past decade to become an observer in the WHA.

KMT legislative whip Hsu Shao-ping (徐少萍) told a press conference that after the nation's 10-year-long struggle to become an observer at the WHA under the name "Republic of China," there has been speculation that the US and Japan would like to support Taiwan in reaching the goal.

But President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) recent name-change campaign and the proposed new strategy for gaining WHO membership would only shed a negative light on Taiwan's WHA bid, Hsu said.

She said that Chen's idea of applying for WHO membership under the name "Taiwan" would only cause cross-strait political tension.

Hsu added that it would be impossible for the nation to achieve the goal in any case, because "China would just veto Taiwan's application anyway."

KMT Legislator Lin De-fu (林德福), who was also present at the conference, dismissed Chen's proposal as an attempt to create an atmosphere beneficial to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the legislative and presidential elections.

"He placed the interests of the party ahead of the nation's interests," Lin said.

In response, the DPP caucus urged cross-party cooperation to realize the government's WHO plan.

"We hope the pan-blue camp will take the nation's future and public health into consideration and refrain from any political wrangling" on such an important issue, DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said at a separate press conference.

"Taiwan could only get second-hand information during the SARS and avian flu epidemics and was unable to engage in dialogue with the WHO," DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said.

"[Joining the WHO] is a matter of humanity and public health, and has a direct bearing on people's lives. A boycott from the pan-blue camp or even other nations can't be justified," he said.

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