Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue stated Tuesday that China was firmly opposed to the request by a senior Japanese official to invite Taiwan to attend the World Health Organization (WHO) as an observer.
Zhang said the WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations and only sovereign states are entitled to become members and participate in its activities.
Taiwan, as a province of China, is neither qualified to participate in WHO activities nor is there any legal basis for the island joining WHO in any capacity, she said.
Japanese health, labor and welfare minister Chikara Sakaguchi proposed on Sunday that the WHO let Taiwan join the organization as an observer.
"No country or individual has the right to invite Taiwan to participate in the WHO as an observer,” said Zhang.
The spokeswoman also revealed that Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who has returned from a trip to Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), has stated the position of the Chinese Government to Japanese leaders.
Wang called on Japan to adhere to the one-China policy and preserve the political basis for Sino-Japanese relations.
Explosions in Saudi Arabia and Chechnya
In response to a question at a press conference, Zhang said China was shocked at the explosions in Saudi Arabia that caused many casualties, and expressed sympathy and condolences to their families.
For the truck bomb blast in Chechnya Monday, China severely condemns the terrorist attack in Chechnya, and expressed deep sympathy and condolences to the casualties and their families, according to Zhang.
China resolutely opposed terrorism in all forms and would continue, as always, to support the Russian government in fighting terrorist and separatist forces and maintaining national unity and territorial integrity, Zhang said.
Beijing talks, a good start
When coming to DPRK issue, Zhang said the Beijing talks were a good start for the peaceful resolution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) nuclear issue. The process should continue and the momentum of dialogue should be maintained.
Diplomatic efforts centering on the DPRK nuclear issue have been frequent and active recently, she said.
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing had a phone conversation with Secretary of State Colin Powell of the United States at the latter's request on May 9 and they exchanged views on the Iraq issue and the DPRK nuclear issue.
During the conversation, the US side expressed appreciation and thanks for China's efforts for the Beijing talks, saying the meeting was helpful. Li said China had always maintained that the DPRK nuclear issue should be resolved through dialogue and by peaceful means.
Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently visited the Republic of Korea and Japan for diplomatic consultations. Wang emphasized the need for a peaceful settlement of the DPRK nuclear issue through dialogue and said Beijing talks should continue. The ROK and Japanese governments agreed with the view, according to the spokeswoman.
Zhang said China had always highly appreciated the support of the ROK and Japan for resolving the DPRK nuclear issue through dialogue.
The Chinese side welcomed countries concerned over the issue to play a constructive role in the process, she said.
China would continue its efforts to help resolve the issue in a proper way as soon as possible, she said.
China's special envoy to visit Israel, Palestine
As for the Middle East issue, Zhang declared that Ambassador Wang Shijie, China's special envoy on the Middle East issue, would leave on May 18 for a visit to Israel and Palestine on May 18.
During the visit Wang is expected to exchange views with Israel and Palestine on the "Road Map" peace plan, Zhang said.
Zhang said as the party concerned have unveiled the "Road Map" for Mideast peace, China hoped both Israel and Palestine would seize the opportunity and cooperate with the international community in their efforts to ensure the early implementation of the Road Map and the realization of peace and stability.
China was ready to push for an early settlement of the issue, said Zhang.
China to Be “Constructive” on Iraq Issue
China will discuss the new draft resolution to lift sanctions against Iraq with other members of the UN Security Council in a constructive spirit, Zhang said at the press conference.
Zhang said China was studying the draft resolution, which was submitted to the UN Security Council by the United States, Britain and Spain.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell had briefed China on the contents of the draft during a phone conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, she said.
She said Iraq's post-war reconstruction concerned the long-term interests of Iraqi people and exerted a direct influence on peace and stability in the Middle East. China always considered lifting the sanctions would help to ease the humanitarian problems in Iraq.
Thanks to international community
China thanked the international community for supporting and aiding its fight against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and China understands why some countries are imposing restrictive travel measures on its citizens to curb the spread of SARS.
In recent days more countries and international organizations have offered help and support, Zhang went on.
The foreign ministers of many nations and heads of international organizations have phoned Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, expressing sympathy over the SARS outbreak in China and their support for the country's fight against the epidemic.
"China is very grateful for the international community's support and help," she said.
SARS is a global problem, which can be contained only through international cooperation.
"China attaches great importance to effective cooperation with other countries in this area," she said.
China understands why some countries are imposing restrictive travel measures on its citizens to curb the spread of SARS. But Zhang added, "We believe all sides should treat Chinese citizens fairly as they go about their normal business."
Zhang said severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was an unexpected disaster, and it took time for countries to learn how to deal with it.
"To prevent the further spread of SARS, some countries have adopted temporary measures, including putting restrictions on people from infected areas, or taking quarantine measures on entry. China feels that is understandable," she said.
Zhang expressed hope that the epidemic would be brought under control soon so normal exchanges between China and foreign countries could continue as normally as possible.
(China.org.cn May 14, 2003)