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Taiwan delivers protest letter to WHA over 'one China' reference

Taiwan delivers protest letter to WHA over 'one China' reference

Taiwan's health minister has delivered a protest letter to the World Health Assembly (WHA) to complain about its reference to the "one China" principle in its invitation for Taiwan to attend this year's WHA as an observer.

Lin Tzou-yien (林奏延) told the press Wednesday that he delivered the letter in person May 23 to a legal counsel of the World Health Organization (WHO) -- asking the person to hand over it to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan.

In the letter, he wrote that the principle behind Taiwan's attendance at the WHA is to be professional and pragmatic, and to contribute to and participate in the global health system, Lin said when he revealed the content of the letter to reporters.

He also pointed out that Taiwan's participation has nothing to do with politics or the "one China" principle, according to Lin, who is heading a Taiwan delegation attending the 2016 WHA in Geneva from May 23-28.

The letter also conveys protest over the WHA's late issuance of the invitation to Taiwan, Lin noted.

Taiwan, which has been taking part in various WHA activities since 2009 under the name Chinese Taipei, was issued a controversial invitation this year that made reference to the "one China" principle and the fact that Taiwan is no longer a member of the United Nations or the WHO.

For the first time ever, the invitation for Taiwan to attend the WHA as an observer mentioned United Nations Resolution No. 2758, Resolution WHA 25.1, and the "one China principle" underlying the two documents.

The first resolution was passed in the United Nations in 1971, recognizing the People's Republic of China as "the only legitimate representative of China" to the U.N. and expelling the representatives of the Republic of China -- the official name of Taiwan -- while the second resolution was adopted by the WHO in 1972 to expel the ROC.

The inclusion of the "one-China" principle in the invitation was seen in Taiwan as an attempt to denigrate the country's sovereignty.

Over the past seven years, meetings between the Taiwanese and Chinese delegations have been held on the sidelines of the WHA conference, except for 2010 and the following two years, after it was found that a WHO document had described Taiwan as a "province of China."

The controversial invitation came after Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the presidential election Jan. 16, the same day the DPP swept to a landslide triumph in legislative elections. Tsai was sworn in as Taiwan's first female president May 20.

(By Emmanuelle Tzeng, Leaf Chiang and Elizabeth Hsu)

Updated : 2021-04-20 16:42 GMT+08:00