Fri, Jan 02, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Hu comments bode well for Taiwan WHA bid: academic

STAFF REPORTER, WITH CNA

Chinese President Hu Jintao’s (胡錦濤) remarks on Wednesday on Taiwan’s international status is a favorable indication of the likelihood of Taiwan gaining observer status at the World Health Assembly (WHA) this May, a Chinese academic said yesterday.

Wang Jianmin (王建民), a Taiwan studies researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told Hong Kong’s Wenhuibao (文匯報) newspaper that Hu’s comments demonstrated an attitude change among ranking Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials’ views toward Taiwan’s international space.

On Wednesday, Hu said that China was willing to make necessary arrangements to enter negotiations for augmenting Taiwan’s participation in international organizations under the condition that the principle of “two China’s” or “one China, one Taiwan” not be used.

Through continuous cross-strait negotiations, it would be very possible for Taiwan to see breakthroughs in its bid to become a WHA observer and for both sides to reach a satisfactory middle ground, Wang said.

The Republic of China was one of the original members of the health body in 1948, but had to withdraw after it forfeited its UN seat in 1971. Taiwan has been trying to reenter the organization since 1997, but each attempt has been foiled because of Beijing’s objections.

The Wenhuibao quoted Wang as saying that the issue of Taiwan’s international space was extremely crucial to the future of cross-strait development and that resolving the impasse would be a test of wisdom for politicians on both sides.

Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) yesterday said that economic issues preceded political issues in the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government’s cross-strait policy.

The WHA issue is not an economic nor a political issue because it concerns human rights and medical care, making it a litmus test of Beijing’s goodwill to Ma’s proposal of a “diplomatic truce,” he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KO SHU-LING

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