May 17, 2005

Taiwan Membership Rejected by World Health Organisation

The general committee of the 58th World Health Assembly (WHA) on Monday ruled that a Taiwan-related proposal will not be included on the conference's provisional agenda
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GENEVA, May 16 (Xinhuanet) -- The general committee of the 58th World Health Assembly (WHA) on Monday ruled that a Taiwan-related proposal will not be included on the conference's provisional agenda.

The proposal, tabled by San Tome and Principe which requests the WHA to invite Taiwan to participate as an observer, was opposed by most of the 25 members of the general committee.

During the general committee's meeting, Gao Qiang, head of the Chinese delegation and Health Minister of China, said that Resolution 2758 of the 26th session of the UN General Assembly and Resolution 25.1 of the 25th WHA have long ago affirmed explicitly that the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing China at the UN and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO Constitution and Rules of Procedure of the WHA stipulate clearly that WHO membership is open only to sovereign states, and only sovereign states and relevant international organizations can attend the WHA as observers at the invitation ofthe WHO director general in some prescribed circumstances, he said.

Mainland and Taiwan both belong to China. As part of China, Taiwan is not qualified to be the WHO's full or associate member or attend the WHA as an observer, he emphasized.

During last annual conference, the Chinese government put forward four proposals regarding Taiwan-related issues, which was welcomed by the WHO and its member states, the Chinese minister said, adding that the Chinese government, with utmost sincerity, has found flexible and practical ways in the past year to implement the four proposals.

And a few days ago, the Chinese Ministry of Health and the WHO signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Taiwan experts' technical exchanges with the WHO, said Gao.

According to the procedure stipulated in the MOU, he explained,the WHO secretariat can invite Taiwan medical and public health experts to participate in its technical activities, send staff or experts to Taiwan to study health and epidemic situation or to provide medical and public health technical assistance.

In the event of acute public health emergencies in Taiwan, following a certain procedure, the WHO can send experts to Taiwan for field visits or provide technical assistance, or invite Taiwanmedical and public health experts to participate in relevant technical activities, he added.

The MOU will greatly facilitate Taiwan health experts' rapid access to more accurate medical and health information and technical assistance, he affirmed.

"The above-mentioned facts show that the Chinese government is sincere to address the concerns of the Taiwan compatriots and protect their legitimate rights and interests. Our efforts are concrete and obvious to all," Gao told the conference.

He stressed that the Chinese government's determination to safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity is unshakable and the policy of protecting the legitimate rights and interests of Taiwan compatriots is unchangeable.

China's position was supported by most of the delegations. Thirty-two countries, including Russia, Pakistan, Brazil, Indonesia, Iran and Zimbabwe, spoke to appreciate the Chinese government's active and practical attitude in helping Taiwan with access to WHO medical and health information as well as technical assistance.

They also stressed that they adhere to the one-China principle,and oppose the inclusion of the Taiwan-related proposal on the agenda. They do not like the WHO to discuss political issues, theyadded.

Since 1997, Taiwan authorities have been abetting countries that have "diplomatic" relations with it in tabling such proposals,all of which have been rejected.

Source: Xinhua