China firmly opposes Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) conference as an observer, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Thursday.
Commenting on the Marshall Islands' recent request to invite Taiwan to attend the WHO conference as an observer, spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said it lacks legal foundation and violates WHO principles to move any motion concerning Taiwan at the WHO conference, and the Chinese government firmly opposes such move.
The WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations and only sovereign states are eligible to apply for membership, Zhang said. Taiwan, a province of China, is therefore not eligible to participate in the WHO or attend the WHO conference as an observer.
The central government of China is very concerned about the health of all Chinese people, including Taiwanese, and has been active in promoting exchanges and cooperation in the health arena across the Taiwan Straits, sharing information on severe acute respiratory syndrome with related agencies in Taiwan for joint efforts to fight the disease, Zhang said.
The Taiwan issue directly affects China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, Zhang said, and China opposes any political maneuvers made in the name of health issues.
The WHO conference has refused Taiwan-related proposals for the past six years, which indicates the position of most WHO member states to uphold justice, the spokeswoman said, adding that the initiative on the part of few countries to make any Taiwan-related proposal at the WHO conference will be doomed to failure again.
(Xinhua News Agency May 8, 2003)