III-7 Question: The 59th World Health Assembly (WHA) in 2006 decided by consensus not to include in its agenda the proposal by a small number of countries to "invite the Republic of China (Taiwan) to participate in the assembly as an observer," which once again frustrated attempts by the Taiwan authorities to attend WHA sessions and get into the World Health Organization (WHO). What does it mean and what is China's position regarding Taiwan-related proposals at the WHO?
A: It is legal, justified and reasonable for the WHA to reject such a proposal, because the Taiwan authorities actually conducted political moves with the excuse of health issues in an effort to serve "Taiwan independence" secessionist activities. The WHA's rejection indicates that the international community has a definite and extensive consensus on this issue.
China's position is very clear regarding Taiwan-related proposals at the WHO. It is common knowledge that the WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations, with only sovereign states entitled to be its members. As a province of China, Taiwan is not qualified at all to join the WHO, nor is it in any position to attend WHA sessions. The WHA's rejection is the common decision made by all member countries based on the UN Charter and WHO Constitution, instead of the personal decision of its director general. On this issue, China sticks to the following four principles:
First, both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China. We regard caring for the health of our Taiwan compatriots as our incumbent responsibility, and we are determined to do, and do well, all the things that will benefit the health and well-being of our Taiwan compatriots.
Second, we support the participation of Taiwan medical professionals in technical exchanges of the WHO, and help the Taiwan region receive timely and accurate international information and technical assistance.
Third, we firmly oppose the politicization of the health issue, internationalization of the Taiwan question or any attempt to create in the world "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan" under the pretext of health issues.
Fourth, we actively promote cross-strait equal consultation within the framework of one China, to solve the problems of cross-strait health cooperation and the Taiwan region participating in international health cooperation.
China's Central Government has valued and showed concern for the health of Taiwan people and made efforts to promote health exchanges across the Taiwan Strait. In 2005, China's Ministry of Health and the WHO Secretariat signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the participation of health and medical experts from Taiwan in WHO technical activities. Over the past year, health and medical professionals from Taiwan have several times attended WHO technical activities. Facts have proved that with the implementation of the MOU, favorable conditions have been created for effectively engaging Taiwan medical and health experts in technical activities of the WHO, technical exchanges, and the acquisition of medical and health information.