Fri, Apr 20, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Minister of Foreign Affairs says WHO bid is nation's will

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Joining the WHO under the name "Taiwan" is the will of the people of Taiwan, with 95 percent of the population supporting the idea, Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) said yesterday.

Huang made the remarks while attending a book presentation by the Taiwan International Health Action, an organization funded by the government that provides medical assistance to the nation's diplomatic allies.

Huang vowed he would make every effort to inform other countries of the great injustice of shutting Taiwan out of the health organization.

He said that for the past decade the government had applied to the WHO as an observer -- which the US and Japan supported -- and to "participate in a meaningful way" in WHO activities, as suggested by the EU.

Both approaches have proven unsuccessful, however, because of China's obstructionism.

Since 2005, when China signed a memorandum of understanding with the WHO allowing the country to have the final say on Taiwan's interactions with the organization, the situation has worsened for Taiwan, Huang said.

Some countries interpret meaningful participation -- the EU proposal -- as meaning that Taiwan should have the opportunity to participate in as many WHO-related meetings as possible, regardless of its official title or the circumstances, he said.

Even permission for specialists from Taiwan to attend meetings on technical issues has consistently been denied or delayed, he said.

Taiwan has become even more marginalized as a result and this is why it has decided to push for membership under the name "Taiwan," Huang said.

In a recent interview with CNN, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan (陳馮富珍) said the WHO's "193 member states still hold on very strongly to the `one China principle.'"

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