Tue, Mar 24, 2009 - Page 3 News List

‘No secret WHO deal’: Ma spokesman

JOINING THE CLUB The DPP’s spokesman said that joining the WHO under the title ‘Chinese Taipei’ would be tantamount to saying that Taiwan is part of China

By Ko Shu-ling AND Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Presidential Office yesterday rejected allegations that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) had struck a secret deal with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on the country’s participation in the WHO.

Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said such a claim was “far from the truth” and that the matter required more negotiation.

Wang made the remarks in response to a report in yesterday’s Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper).

The report cited Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) as saying that the administration had come to an agreement with its Chinese counterpart stipulating that Beijing would issue a letter inviting the administration to participate in World Health Assembly (WHA) activities this year under the name “Chinese Taipei.”

Kuan said that China and the WHO signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in 2005 stipulating that all WHO-related communication with Taiwan must be cleared by Beijing first.

Though the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took pride in Taiwan’s inclusion in the International Health Regulations (IHR) this year, Kuan said that Taipei was listed as “a contact point in Taiwan” and that eight of Taiwan’s ports were listed under China as IHR-authorized ports, she said.

Wang downplayed the IHR controversy yesterday, saying that such occurrences were not uncommon since the Republic of China lost its UN seat. He believed the public would understand the country’s diplomatic difficulties.

Wang said his understanding was that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had taken steps in response to the situation and that the government would do its best on the issue.

Regarding the claim that Beijing would invite Taipei to participate in WHA activities, Wang said Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) had stated the country would not accept such an invitation.

Earlier yesterday, Kuan told a press conference: “The administration of President Ma is sacrificing Taiwan’s sovereignty to join the WHA as an observer, and the DPP will not accept this.”

She said the KMT and the CCP had reached agreements on four points: that Taiwan would consult with China and not with the international community on the WHA bid; that Taiwan would join the WHA under the title “Chinese Taipei” and not challenge the “one China” framework; that the WHA would review Taiwan’s observer status annually under the title “Chinese Taipei”; and that the WHO secretariat’s letters to Taiwan be delivered to Beijing.

Kuan said if the WHO invited Taiwan to join the WHA via Beijing as an observer this year, it would be like telling the international community that Taiwan is part of China.

“Taiwan’s bid for the WHA is a diplomatic matter, but the government has turned it into a cross-strait issue, which would give Beijing all the power to decide on Taiwan’s international activities,” she said. “Ma wants to make political capital with Taiwan’s entry to the WHA this year, but it might come at the cost of the country’s sovereignty and diplomatic rights.”

At a separate setting, DPP Spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) said that China’s 2005 MOU with the WHO stipulated that Taiwan join the organization with the title of “Chinese Taipei” and that if the KMT government accepted such an arrangement, it would be tantamount to saying that Taiwan was part of China.

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