• Directory of Taiwan

Tsai questions if Ma sacrificed Taiwan sovereignty for WHA

Minister of Health Ching-chuan Yeh presents a report to the KMT Central Standing Committee April 29 on his invitation to observe the upcoming WHA meet...
Tsai questions if Ma sacrificed Taiwan sovereignty for WHA

Taiwan DOH Minister to observe WHA meeting

Minister of Health Ching-chuan Yeh presents a report to the KMT Central Standing Committee April 29 on his invitation to observe the upcoming WHA meet...

Opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen stated that the invitation issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) to Taiwan under the name of "Chinese Taipei" to attend the annual World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva this May "as an observor" had "abandoned" Taiwan's sovereignty and "lacks substantive meaning."
Speaking with reporters after the weekly meeting of the DPP Central Standing Committee, Tsai said that the letter sent by World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan to "Chinese Taipei" Department of Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan on Tuesday "appears to be a one-time invitation and the basis in WHO regulations for the invitation to attend the WHA as an observer is unclear."
Moreover, Tsai noted that Yeh was only referred as a "doctor" and that Taiwan is to be referred only as "Chinese Taipei," not as Taiwan or the Republic of China. The DPP chairwoman also observed that the letter did not mention the May 2005 secret memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the WHO Secretariat and the People's Republic of China which requires all WHO contacts with Taiwan to take place through Beijing's Ministry of Health under a "one China framework."
Tsai stated that if Chan's letter represented an "one time invitation and if the question of sovereignty remained darkly clouded, this invitation will lack substantial meaning."
"Any claim by the Ma government that takes this event as a diplomatic victory due to its policy of diplomatic truce will be a grave exaggeration and extremely inappropriate," said the DPP chairwoman, who added that "we do not yet know what was traded to gain this invitation."
Tsai added that "the Ma government had utilized the fear of the new H1N1 type of influenza as cover to covertly abandon the principle of sovereignty which Taiwan should resolutely uphold in the question of participation in the WHA." DPP Culture and Information Department Director Cheng Wen-tsan related that the WHO letter did not indicate whether Taiwan would participate as an observer in the status of a sovereign country as the case for the Vatican or as a "non-governmental organization."
"Taiwan has not yet this year submitted an application to participate in the WHA this year and since there has not been any official WHA resolution and the May 2005 MOU still exists," observed Cheng.
"Therefore, the fact that the Ma government engaged in discussions with China and gained China's agreement in order to participate in this year's WHA constitutes acceptance of the 2005 MOU which has a 'One China' framework," said Cheng.
In addition, Cheng said the DPP Central Standing Committee approved a three point resolution which stated that Taiwan's participation in the WHA "should be based on an official resolution approved by the WHA" that is in accordance with the WHO charter, guarantees that Taiwan can participate every year and provides "room for interpretation of our country's sovereignty."
"Otherwise, we will be tacitly accepting a one-China framework," said the DPP spokesman.
Noting that "previous observers at WHA meetings did not require the approval of another country," the DPP resolution also demanded that the May 2005 MOU between the PRC and the WHO be both published and revoked.
Third, the DPP stated that Taiwan's contact point under the International Health Regulations should have the same functions and operation as all other countries without any discount.
In addition, after hearing a report by former National Disease Control Bureau director-general Su Li-jen on measures to protect Taiwan from the new H1N1 influenza strain, Tsai urged the government to "make full preparations as soon as possible" to control the disease in order to avoid rush buying or hoarding of masks or medicines.
Tsai related that the performance of the Taipei City government under then mayor Ma Ying-jeou in coping with the SARS epidemic in early 2003 "had many aspects that required review" including the outbreak of the disease at the Taipei Hoping Hospital.
The DPP chairman and former vice premier stated that the former DPP government gained "valuable experience"in controlling the SARS and said she hoped the Ma government could review this experience "since everyone must protect the health of the people."