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US delegation to Taiwan opposed
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-18 23:18

China's central government has always been concerned about the well-being and health of Taiwan compatriots and has actively promoted co-operation in the medical and health field across the Taiwan Straits.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao made the remarks early Tuesday after the 57th World Health Assembly (WHA) turned down a motion Monday to include in its agenda a proposal to invite Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer. The motion was put forth by the Solomon Islands and a few other countries.

It was the eighth successive rejection by the WHA -- which is currently meeting in Geneva -- to such proposals since 1997, Liu noted.

Head of the Chinese delegation to the assembly, vice minister of health Gao Qiang, said there are no difficulties in technical exchanges between Taiwan and the mainland and between Taiwan and WHO.

"Health workers in the mainland have long been in close contact with their colleagues in Taiwan. There has been extensive co-operation between the mainland and Taiwan in the areas of medicine, health, medical education and hospital management," Gao said.

At the same time, Taiwan medical professionals are welcomed to join the Chinese delegation at the WHA, he added.

Liu said that 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.

Also at Tuesday's regular briefing, Liu said that the Chinese Government opposes a US move to send a delegation to the inauguration of Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian on May 20.

The American Institute in Taiwan announced recently that a delegation, headed by Jim Leach, chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs of US House of Representative's Committee on International Relations, will attend the inauguration.

Liu said that the move sends a wrong message to the Taiwan side and does not help stability across the Taiwan Straits.

In another development, Liu reiterated that China has inarguable sovereignty over the Nansha islands and the sea areas around the islands.

It was reported that Viet Nam has been building an airport on one of the Nansha islands and the construction project is to be completed by the end of this year.

Liu said such a move infringes on China's territorial sovereignty and is illegal.

The move will lead to further complication of the situation in the South China Sea, he said.

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