Sat, Feb 14, 2009 - Page 4 News List

IHR integration going smoothly, MAC says

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The government will negotiate with the WHO if the nation is belittled during the WHO’s International Health Regulations (IHR) integration process, Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) told reporters yesterday.

Responding to media reports that China is planning to belittle the nation’s sovereignty while Taiwan is being integrated into the IHR, Liu said the government was paying close attention to the integration process and would immediately seek negotiations with the WHO if this occurs.

The WHO notified Taiwan last month that it had been brought under the umbrella of the IHR, a legal framework under the WHO for global infectious disease control, Liu said, adding that the nation is establishing contacts and interaction with the WHO now that it is part of the global epidemic disease control and healthcare network.

“The procedures in the integration process have nothing to do with China,” Liu said, adding that the nation’s participation in the IHR mechanism is conducted through the WHO and does not need Beijing’s approval.

Things are going smoothly at the moment, Liu said, adding that the government would protect the nation’s sovereignty and interests at all costs during the integration process.

Liu said that the IHR is only one of the many mechanisms under the WHO and urged China not to obstruct the nation’s participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA) — the executive arm of the WHO — as an observer.

“The government will continue to fight for Taiwan’s right to participate in the WHA and all of the WHO’s mechanisms and activities,” Liu said at the press conference.

He said that it was vital that Taiwan be allowed to protect the health and rights of its citizens.

Because of China’s opposition, the nation had previously been excluded from the IHR, even though a “universal application” phrase was introduced in the regulations in 2005 with the firm support of the US and Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, and after encouragement from the EU and Japan.

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