Sat, Apr 29, 2017 - Page 3 News List

WHA attendance a right: Tsai

‘IMPORTANT PARTNER’:The president met AIT Chairman James Moriarty, who said the US appreciates the leadership displayed by Taiwan on global health issues

Staff writer, with CNA

President Tsai Ing-wen, right, yesterday meets with American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James Moriarty, left, at the Presidential Office in Taipei.

Photo: CNA

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said the nation attending the World Health Assembly (WHA) relates directly to the nations’ right to good health and it should not be undermined for any reason.

Support and assistance from the US and other like-minded nations for Taiwan’s participation is the greatest recognition of Taipei’s many contributions to the global health system, Tsai said during a meeting with American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty.

Tsai acknowledged the US government’s support of Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations. She also thanked Moriarty for reaffirming at a public health workshop in Taipei under the US-Taiwan Global Cooperation and Training Framework earlier this week Washington’s position that Taiwan should be allowed to attend the WHA.

Describing the US as Taiwan’s “most important partner,” Tsai said she hopes the two sides can work to strengthen cooperation on issues such as counterterrorism, public health, the digital economy, humanitarian aid and women’s rights under existing bilateral and multilateral frameworks.

Tsai said she is looking forward to both sides continuing to strengthen and upgrade their partnership, for example by more strategic cooperation on regional security, extending exchanges on trade and economics, and by strengthening mutual trust.

Taiwan is prepared to play a more positive role in protecting regional peace and security, she said, adding that Taipei would also engage in US-led humanitarian efforts in the Middle East, increase its defense investment, promote cooperation with the US defense industry and launch a project to build a domestic submarine.

Moriarty said he was very happy to visit Taiwan for a second time as AIT chairman, which he said has given him an opportunity to reaffirm the US’ commitments to the nation.

The career diplomat was appointed AIT chairman in October last year.

He said the relationship between the US and Taiwan is based on the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the common values and friendship of the people on both sides.

The TRA has ensured the consistency of US policy toward Taiwan, despite the different US administrations over the years, regardless of which party is in power, he said, adding that Washington has upgraded its level of cooperation with Taiwan in recent years.

He said the Taiwan-US public health workshop demonstrated Taiwan’s abilities in disease prevention and control, and noted that the US appreciates the leadership displayed by the nation on global health issues.

The US strongly supports Taiwan’s participation as an observer at the WHA and it hopes the nation can attend the event again this year to continue its contributions to global health, he added.

The WHA, the decisionmaking body of the WHO, is scheduled to hold its annual meeting from May 22 to May 31 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Taiwan first attended the WHA as an observer in 2009. Since then, Taipei has sent a delegation to the meeting every year, but the nation has not yet received an invitation to this year’s meeting.

There have been concerns that Beijing might try to block Taiwan’s invitation to the meeting this year due to increasingly strained cross-strait relations since Tsai took office in May last year.

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