China Slams US Push for Taiwan's WHO Status

China expressed strong dissatisfaction over the US Congress' decision to pass a motion supporting Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization (WHO), said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao Tuesday.

Liu told a regular press conference that the US Congress insisted on passing the motion despite China's opposition. China has lodged solemn representation to the US side over this issue.

Liu said the WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations and only sovereign states are eligible to apply for membership. According to the WHO's rules and regulations, Taiwan, as a part of China, is not eligible to participate in the WHO or attend the WHO conference as an observer, Liu said.

He said the Chinese central government has been always concerned over the well-being and the right of health of the Taiwan people, and has promoted exchanges on health across the straits to help Taiwan acquire the relevant information.

Liu noted that with the permission of the Chinese central government, experts from the WHO have been to Taiwan several times to learn about severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and other epidemics there, and the Taiwan experts have also participated in the WHO special meetings on SARS and cancer.

Facts show that Taiwan has a smooth channel to get health information, he said, adding that the Chinese central government had expressed welcome for Taiwan health experts to join the Chinese delegation to present at the WHO conference.

He said if Taiwan needs the WHO's technical assistance, so long as it informs the Chinese central government, China will give active consideration to their needs.

Liu said the real purpose of the Taiwan authorities does not lie in the health issue, but to create "two Chinas" and "one China, one Taiwan" in the international community to achieve its attempt at "Taiwan Independence", which can not succeed, Liu said.

China urges the US side to honor its promise of abiding by the one-China policy and the three Sino-US joint communiques, opposing "Taiwan independence", and prudently and properly handling the WHO's Taiwan-related issues, lest they damage the Sino-US relations, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency May 11, 2004)