China promises to safeguard health of Taiwan compatriots

Updated: 2007-05-15 09:16

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 one-China policy.

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, including Taiwan

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.

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