The 60th World Health Assembly (WHA) announced Monday that its provisional agenda would not include a proposal to make Taiwan a WHO member state.
Jane Halton, president of the Assembly and secretary of the Department of Health and Aging of Australia, made this declaration after receiving a recommendation from the 25-member General Committee which was submitted to a roll call vote by all member states at the plenary session.
The vote noted massive opposition to including the Taiwan-related proposal in the agenda, the 11th consecutive time such a rejection has occurred. .
Furthermore, in interventions following the vote, many states reiterated their support for the one-China policy and that Taiwan, given its status as a province of China, is in no way eligible for WHO membership.
The WHA is the supreme decision-making body of the WHO and hosts its annual conference in Geneva in May, gathering delegations from all its 193 member states.
The Taiwan member state proposal, supported by a small number of countries, ignores relevant UN resolutions and smacks of Taiwan authorities’ desperation at becoming first a WHA observer and now a full WHO member state.
Addressing Monday's conference, Chinese Minister of Health Gao Qiang slammed the move by Taiwanese authorities, reiterating that WHO membership is only open to sovereign states and thus not applicable to Taiwan.
"Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. Although the reunification of the mainland and Taiwan has yet to be achieved due to historical reasons, the fact that the mainland and Taiwan both belong to one China will never change," Gao said.
Gao further noted that the "Taiwan membership" proposal was not intended to benefit the Taiwanese people but to further the cause of full "Taiwan independence" in the international arena, with the proposal being merely a political move by certain figures on the island.
"This proposal disregards the UN Charter and the WHO Constitution, violates the resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the WHA, challenges the internationally-acknowledged One China Principle, ridicules a decade-long WHA consensus, and offends the member states," Gao said.
(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2007)