Sun, May 06, 2007 - Page 3 News List

British member of parliament supports Taiwan WTO bid

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA , LONDON AND TAIPEI

A member of the British Parliament put forth a motion on Friday to back up Taiwan's bid to become a full member of the WHO.

The motion, proposed by Nicholas Winterton, a co-chair of the Taiwan Group in Parliament, encourages the British government to throw its support behind the cause and to urge the WHO to invite Taiwan to take part as an observer in the World Health Assembly -- the WHO's highest decision-making body -- before the country's official accession.

a first

Edgar Lin (林俊義), Taiwan's representative to the UK, said that while countries including the US and Japan have so far only expressed support for Taiwan's participation in the WHA as an observer, the proposed motion marks the first of its kind favoring full WHO membership for Taiwan.

Noting that the Holy See, Palestine and Malta have been invited to attend the upcoming WHA gathering from May 14 through May 23 as observers, the proposed motion expresses regret at the fact that the WHA has refused for the last ten consecutive years to include the issue of Taiwan's bid on its agenda.

The motion said it is totally legitimate for Taiwan to request membership in the WHO and meaningful participation in the WHA before becoming a full member.

rallies

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was organizing rallies in Taipei and Kaohsiung as well as in New York City -- to be held simultaneously on Saturday -- as a part of efforts to galvanize support for Taiwan's bid to join the international health body as a full member.

The foreign ministry has also launched an online campaign for the rallies.

Titled "Taiwan joins WHO, I care, you care," the campaign has attracted 7,668 signatures in just two days since its launch on Friday, the officials said.

The ministry invited people to sign up in support of Taiwan's WHO bid at http://www.bewhotaiwan.com.tw.

speaking out

The rallies will provide Taiwanese with a convenient opportunity to let the world hear them speak clearly with one voice, officials said.

Officials added that 95 percent of people in a recent public opinion poll said Taiwan should be admitted into the WHO as a full member.

The 23 million Taiwanese have been isolated and entirely excluded from the world health regulatory body and its activities, even at the height of the severe acute respiratory syndrome pandemic and other epidemic diseases, resulting in a serious gap in the global public health protection network, they pointed out.

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