Taiwanese legislators ask for WHO and UN status

By Tzou Jing-wen  /  Staff reporter, in Geneva

Tue, May 22, 2012 - Page 3

Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators attending the World Health Assembly’s annual summit in Geneva yesterday criticized references by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to “one country, two areas” (一國兩區) made during his inaugural address on Sunday and said Taiwan should be able to join the WHO under its own name.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Geneva held a cocktail party in honor of Ma’s inauguration that was attended by the ministers of health from at least 12 countries with which Taiwan has diplomatic ties.

During the party, TSU Legislator Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) thanked the representatives for their nations’ longtime support of Taiwan and expressed Taiwan’s willingness to bolster global health improvement initiatives.

“I wish to remind everyone that Taiwan is not a part of China; Taiwan is Taiwan, it is not China. According to UN Resolution 2758 of 1971, Beijing is the only legal representative of China in the UN; there is no “one country, two areas,” she said in her speech.

“Taiwan is a sovereign, independent country, and the only way to join the WHO is to join under the name of Taiwan, and I think all here agree with me,” she said.

KMT Legislator Su Ching-chuan (蘇清泉) confirmed his support for the idea, saying that while he and Lin were from different political parties, “we share the same opinion” on the issue, adding a call for all diplomatic allies present to continue to support Taiwan’s endeavors to not only join the WHO as a full member, but also participate more dynamically in international organizations.

The speech elicited a frank statement from the minister of health from the Republic of Nauru, who said that although his comment was likely to “offend” some people, the truth is that Taiwan is a sovereign, independent country and should therefore be able to participate in the WHO as a full member.

Meanwhile, in an international telephone interview, Lin told reporters from Taiwan that Ma’s mention of “one country, two areas” in his inaugural address and definition of “one China,” the Republic of China (ROC), was not only not recognized in international diplomatic circles, but would also ensure that Taiwan would never be able to join the WHO or the UN.

Instead, comments like that would only let the international community mistakenly think that the Taiwanese government accepts China’s “one China” framework and that Taiwan is only an area under China, Lin said.

She added that such misconceptions would only undermine Taiwan’s claims of sovereignty and lessen the opportunities in which Taiwan can participate in the international community.

Lin said that it was only by focusing on its objective of joining the WHO and the UN as a member state that the name of Taiwan and its sovereignty would be safeguarded.

Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer