The government will fight for the country’s right to participate in the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on an equal footing with other member states, despite the downgrading of Taiwan’s membership status, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Phoebe Yeh (葉非比) said yesterday.
Yeh said Taiwan, as a member of the OIE, has the right to take part in OIE affairs and activities and will send a delegation to attend the General Session of the OIE’s International Committee taking place from Sunday to Friday in Paris.
Yeh dismissed the OIE’s decision to downgrade Taiwan’s membership status to the level of a “non-sovereign regional member” as illegitimate, adding there was no such category in the OIE charter.
Under pressure from China, members of the Paris-based OIE voted in May last year in favor of a resolution asking Taiwan to continue its participation in the OIE as a “non-sovereign regional member” under the title “Chinese Taipei.”
Taiwan gained accession to the OIE in 1954 under the name, “Republic of China (Taiwan),” but was forced to change its title to “Taipei China” after Beijing was admitted to the organization in 1992.
In an attempt to push the OIE to make further concessions on Taiwan’s title, China refused to participate in OIE activities.
To try to resolve the problem, the OIE International Committee adopted a resolution in 2003 to change Taiwan’s membership name from “Taipei China” to “Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu.”
Taiwan agreed to the new designation, but China refused to take part in the final vote on the issue.