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Taiwan's attempt to access WHO fails again
Updated: 2004-05-18 07:45

The 57th World Health Assembly's (WHA) General Committee decided on Monday not to include on the agenda a proposal to invite Taiwan to participate as an observer in the WHA, the supreme decision-making body for the World Health Organization (WHO).

Taiwan's attempt to access the WHO failed again when WHA Chairman Mohammad Nasir Khan, who is also the Pakistani health minister, announced the decision which is the consensus of the 25-member WHA General Committee.

This is the eighth successive failure since 1997 of similar proposals by the Taiwan authorities and tabled by a few WHO member states.

There's no legal ground and reason for inviting Taiwan to participate in the WHA, said Gao Qiang, Chinese executive vice minister of health.

The Taiwan-related proposal, tabled by a few countries like Solomon Islands, runs counter to international law and WHO principles and regulations, said Gao, who is head of the Chinese delegation at the 57th WHA, held from Monday to Saturday at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Since the Chinese Mainland has actively carried out technical exchanges and cooperation with Taiwan, approved WHO to dispatch several groups of experts to inspect the situation of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Taiwan, and allowed Taiwan health and medical experts to attend technical meetings convened by WHO, Taiwan has no difficulties in getting information from WHOand carrying out technical exchanges with it, he said.

The true purpose of the Taiwan authorities, Gao said, is not toserve the interests of the health of the people in Taiwan, but to create "two Chinas" or "One China, One Taiwan", to politicize the health issue and to internationalize the Taiwan issue.

The Taiwan-related proposal was opposed by most member states of WHO. Representatives of 31 countries, including Russia, Egypt, Laos, Brazil, South Africa, Chile, Iran and Tanzania, delivered speeches at the meeting in support of China's opposition.

They spoke highly of China's sincerity and efforts in actively carrying out exchanges across the Taiwan straits and in helping Taiwan to attain WHO's information and support.

They also expressed determination in firmly sticking to the One-China principle and their opposition to including the Taiwan-related proposal in the WHA agenda.

FM spokesman on WHA rejecting proposal concerning Taiwan

Facts have proven that any attempt by the Taiwan authorities to create "two Chinas" and "one China, one Taiwan" in the World Health Organization (WHO) is doomed to failure, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in Beijing early Tuesday.

Liu made the remarks after the 57th World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted with an overwhelming majority in Geneva on Monday a decision not to include on the agenda a proposal put forward by Solomon Islands and a few other countries to invite Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer.

It was the eighth successive rejection by the WHA to such proposals since 1997, Liu noted.

The WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations and only sovereign states may join it. According to WHO and WHA rules and regulations, Taiwan, as part of China, is not eligible to participate in the WHO or attend the WHA as an observer.

China's central government has always been concerned about the well-being and right of health of the Taiwan compatriots, and has actively promoted cooperation in the medical and health field across the Taiwan Straits, Liu said, noting that the channel for exchanges between WHO experts and Taiwan experts has been smooth.

A handful of countries, instigated by the Taiwan authorities and ignoring their failure in the past years, have stubbornly insisted on putting forward proposals concerning Taiwan at the WHA,Liu said.

Such a behavior, which is against relevant resolutions by the United Nations Assembly and the WHA and against the principles of the WHO, has seriously disturbed the normal operation of the WHA, and it is natural that the behavior has been rejected by most member states, Liu said.

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