Apr 17, 2007

Taiwan: Seeks WHO Membership

Following announcements last week that Taiwan would apply for full membership to the World Health Organization in order to better cope with medical emergencies, harsh criticism has been voiced by Beijing.

Below is an article published by Taipei Times:

China yesterday [16 April 2007] denounced a bid by Taiwan to join the WHO [World Health Organization], saying that it was not eligible to join the UN body because it is not a sovereign state.

Taiwan announced last week it would apply for full membership of the WHO following a decade of failed attempts to win observer status in the group because of Beijing's objections.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement posted on the ministry's Web site that "WHO is a UN specialized agency whose membership is open only to sovereign states and therefore Taiwan is not eligible."

"Whatever way the Taiwan authorities take, schemes to make use of health issues to serve Taiwan independence activities are doomed to failure," Qin said.

Taiwan says it needs to join WHO to be able to better cope with major medical emergencies, such as the SARS epidemic or a possible human influenza pandemic.