Taiwan's participation in WHA being discussed with China: president

Taipei, Dec. 30 (CNA) Taiwan is currently discussing the issue of its representation in the World Health Assembly (WHA) with China, President Ma Ying-jeou said in an interview with Web site Yahoo! Kimo that was posted on the Internet Tuesday.
"We are in fact consulting with the other side of the Taiwan Strait on this issue. They are willing to discuss this issue with us," Ma said.
Expressing his hope that Taiwan's representation in the decision-making body of the World Health Organization can be settled before the WHA General Assembly meets in May, Ma stressed that it will require a great deal of effort to achieve the goal.
"As long as the two sides do not deny each other, room can be created for both to hold bilateral negotiations on many issues, " the president said.
Taiwan's repeated bids to join the WHA as an observer since 1997 have failed because of China's objections. Taiwan changed its strategy in 2007, applying for membership using the name "Taiwan, " but that attempt was also blocked by Beijing.
Ma believed, however, that focusing on the possible and skirting the sovereignty issue would help advance the process, as was the case in dealing with China's offer of two giant pandas to Taiwan.
In the case of the pandas, Ma described the crux of the issue as ensuring that the animals could be exported from China and imported into Taiwan through due process.
"Our attention was not focused on whether it was an international or domestic transfer," Ma argued.
Turning to Taiwan's desire to take part in the United Nations, the president believed the sovereignty dispute remains the prime hurdle.
"The sovereignty issue is even more difficult to resolve than the defense issue, " Ma said. "What we should do on the current stage is remove barriers created by the problem rather than try to solve it. " He also acknowledged that some of Taiwan's people are concerned about the potential negative impact of a quick improvement in relations between Taiwan and China, but he brushed aside the view, saying that it was held by "only a minority of the people." According to the president, many of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, U.S. government officials and think tank members have been pleased to see an improved situation across the Taiwan Strait, which they believe will help lead to peace and prosperity in the region.
Ma said he believes that U.S. President-elect Barack Obama will continue supporting these policies conducive to development in East Asia, following in the steps of his predecessors.
(By Flor Wang)

Updated : 2021-04-14 00:42 GMT+08:00