Taiwan should apply for WHO membership instead of waiting to be invited to the executive board’s follow-up to the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May, Taiwan Medical Professionals Alliance chairman Wu Shuh-min (吳樹民) said yesterday.
Taiwan is unlikely to be granted observer status at the assembly, the highest decisionmaking body of the WHO, Wu said, citing the nation’s exclusion from the International Civil Aviation Organization last year.
“Attending the assembly under the humiliating terms of the ‘one China’ principle would be worse than not participating at all. We should consider the failure to invite Taiwan a blessing, which gives us the focus to join the WHO under the name ‘Taiwan,’” he said.
Taiwan can be invited to the assembly by a member state, which requires ratification by the WHO; at the invitation of the organization’s director-general; or by becoming a full member following a successful application.
Since 2009, Taiwan has participated in the assembly as an observer under the name “Chinese Taipei,” an arrangement subject to annual renewal with China’s consent.
Sources in the National Security Council said the government’s intention this year is to follow past convention and wait for an invitation.
However, last year, in an unprecedented move, the WHO cited UN General Assembly Resolution 2758, WHA Resolution 25.1 and the “one China” principle as “reflected therein” in its invitation.
Resolution 2758, passed on Oct. 25, 1971, recognized the representatives of the People’s Republic of China government as “the only legitimate representatives of China” and expelled the representatives of the Republic of China (ROC) from the UN.
WHA Resolution 25.1 expelled the ROC from the WHO in 1972.
Whether Taiwan will be invited this year is unknown, as WHO Director-General Margaret Chan (陳馮富珍), of Hong Kong, is ultimately responsible for sending the invitation, the sources said.
While Chan is scheduled to step down on June 30, the three candidates to replace her represent Ethiopia, Pakistan and Britain, which are likely to side with China, the sources said.
Wu said President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) policy of maintaining the “status quo” and appeasing China is not supported by a majority of the Taiwanese, and she should defer to the nation’s democratic will on cross-strait matters.
Tsai should follow the example of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), who in 2007 applied for full membership of the WHO, Taiwan UN Alliance president Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) said, adding that the act was “symbolically important.”
The government should be proactive instead of waiting for observer status, or the international community might believe that Taiwan has accepted the “one China” principle, Michael Tsai added.
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