Wed, Apr 11, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan, WHO still working on name

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan is keeping pressure on the WHO over a leaked memo that asked WHO agencies to refer to Taiwan as a province of China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, a year after the document was made public by a legislator.

“We have been negotiating with the WHO during the past year,” Lily Hsu (徐儷文), the head of the Department of International Organizations, said at a press briefing.

“Although there has been no official response from the WHO so far, we will continue to work on it,” she said in response to a reporter’s question.

The ministry has also expressed dissatisfaction with the WHO’s denigration of Taiwan through other major countries such as the US, Hsu said.

Last year, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) revealed to the media an internal WHO memo that urged the organization’s officials to use “Taiwan, Province of China” when referring to Taiwan in WHO publications.

Asked whether Taiwan would lodge a protest with relevant authorities at next month’s World Health Assembly (WHA), Hsu said: “Appropriate statements will be made depending on how circumstances develop.”

Last year, Department of Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) delivered a letter of protest while attending the annual meeting of the WHA, the highest decision-making body of the WHO.

Addressed to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan (陳馮富珍), who is from Hong Kong, the strongly worded letter said the error was “absolutely unacceptable” and it requested the international body to “immediately look into this grave matter and redress the mistake.”

Taiwan has attended the WHA as an observer under the name “Chinese Taipei” since 2009.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health announced last week that Chiu was scheduled to lead a delegation to the annual WHA conference in Geneva, Switzerland, from May 21 through May 26.

“Chiu will share with other members the experience of Taiwan’s health insurance system, have professional exchanges on medical and health issues, and solicit support for Taiwan to continue to attend activities under the WHO,” the statement said.

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