GENEVA -- The Chinese
government has always attached great importance to the health of Taiwan
compatriots and will do whatever is beneficial to safeguard their interests,
Chinese Health Minister Gao Qiang said here Monday.
"We will do our utmost to safeguard the health rights and interests of the
Taiwan people. This is not only what we have promised, but also what we have
done," Gao told the 60th World Health Assembly (WHA).
The WHA, the supreme decision-making body of the 193-state World Health
Organization (WHO), earlier rejected a Taiwan-related proposal, frustrating an
attempt by the Taiwan authorities to join the WHO as a "full member."
While stressing that Taiwan, as a province of China, is not eligible for WHO
membership, Gao stressed at the Assembly that the Chinese government has always
attached great importance to the health of Taiwan compatriots.
Gao said the Chinese government has always supported the participation of
Taiwan medical and public health experts in the technical exchanges of the WHO
under the principle of the one-China policy.
Since a memorandum of understanding was signed by the WHO and China in 2005,
12 groups of Taiwan experts have taken part in relevant technical conferences of
the WHO concerning several specialized areas of health, he said.
The Chinese government has been making great efforts to promote medical and
health exchanges across the Taiwan Strait. The two sides saw medical personnel
visits involving 2,100 groups from 1996 to 2006, according to Gao.
Gao said the Chinese government has consulted with the WHO on applying the
International Health Regulations (IHR) to Taiwan under the principle of the
The aim is to "further promote technical cooperation and exchanges between
Taiwan experts and the WHO, and integrate Taiwan into the global health and
epidemic prevention system," he said.
"Unquestionable facts have shown that there are channels for the Taiwan
medical and health experts to take part in the technical activities of the WHO,
conduct technical exchanges regarding health and acquire medical and health
information," he said.
"It is the small number of political figures in Taiwan who are obstructing
the implementation of the IHR in Taiwan," Gao said.
China says IHR applies to entire territory,
The Chinese government said in Geneva Monday that the
International Health Regulations (2005) apply to the entire territory of
China, including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
"The International Health Regulations (2005) apply to the entire territory of
the People's Republic of China, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative
Region, the Macao Special Administrative Region and the Taiwan Province," it
said in a statement submitted to the World Health Organization (WHO) by China 's
permanent mission to the UN Office in Geneva.
The 60th World Health Assembly excluded Monday here a proposal on making
Taiwan a "member state" of the WHO from the conference's provisional agenda.
The International Health Regulations (2005), or IHR, will formally come into
force on June 15.
It is the world's first legally binding agreement in the fight against public
health emergencies of international concern.
In the statement, the Chinese government said that its health ministry will
be responsible for the implementation of the regulations nation wide.
China is, among other moves, revising its Frontier Health and Quarantine Law
to meet the needs of applying the IHR, the statement said.