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Statement by H.E. Mr. ZHANG Wenkang, Head of the Chinese Delegation and Minister of Health, At the General Committee of the 55th Session of World Health Assembly (Geneva, 13 May 2002)
Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese Delegation firmly opposes the proposal by Nicaragua and a few other countries to include "Inviting Taiwan to Participate in the World Health Assembly as an Observer" as a supplementary item in the agenda of the WHA.

The World Health Organization is a UN specialized agency, and the WHA is the highest policy making authority of this organization. The Resolution 2758 adopted at the 26th session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1971 and the Resolution WHA25.1 adopted at the 25th session of the WHA have solved once and for all the issue of China's representation in the United Nations and the WHO. According to the above resolutions, the representatives of the Government of the People's Republic of China are the only legitimate representatives of China at UN and WHO. Taiwan, as a province of China, is not eligible to join UN and WHO in any name or by any means. The proposal of inviting Taiwan to participate in the WHA is an apparent violation of the above UN and WHA resolutions and the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.

Over the past five years, the General Committee discussed similar proposals raised by a small number of countries. For five times, the General Committee made the same decision to reject the proposals. For five times, the WHA endorsed the decision of the General Committee. Furthermore, in January this year, the Executive Board also rejected a proposal of similar nature in unequivocal terms. If the sponsors of this proposal have any common sense and have some respect for the WHO, for the decisions made by the WHA, the General Committee and the Executive Board, and for the will of the overwhelming majority of the WHA membership, such a farce should have already come to an end.

Regrettably, these countries again raised the proposal of inviting Taiwan to participate WHA as an observer. Before the meeting, the Taiwan authorities blatantly claimed that Taiwan could join WHO as a health entity or even a non-governmental organization. However, there is no such concept as "health entity" in WHO's Constitution and there has never been any case of "health entity" in over fifty years of practice of WHO. So inviting Taiwan to participate in the WHA as a "health entity" does not have any legal ground or any precedence to follow. According to Article 18 of the WHO Constitution, participation of any domestic organization of a Member State in the WHO's activities shall be subject to the consent of the government of the State concerned.  Meanwhile, Article 1.2 of the Principles Governing Relations between WHO and Non-Governmental Organizations clearly provides that the establishment of relations between WHO and non-governmental organizations should comply with relevant resolutions of the General Assembly or Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Therefore, inviting Taiwan to participate in the activities of the WHO as an observer apparently violates Resolution 2758 of the UNGA as well as relevant stipulations of this organization.

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese Government is committed to protecting the legitimate rights and interests as well as the health and well-being of the Taiwan compatriots. The Chinese Government is ready to conduct consultations and find solutions to issues related to health matters through proper channels and to make appropriate arrangement for exchanges across the Taiwan Straits. So long as the Taiwan authorities have sincerity, all issues, including health can be settled through cross-Straits consultations. Even under present circumstances, the Chinese Government has always actively promoted cross-Straits cooperation and exchanges. Several hundred cross-Straits visits in the health field are organized every year and more than several thousand people are involved. Had the Taiwan authorities not obstructed, cross-Straits health cooperation certainly would have been better. Instead of doing what they should, the Taiwan authorities have time and again instigated some countries to raise the proposal to allow Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer. Their purpose is to create "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan " in the world.

Mr. Chairman,

The peaceful reunification of China is the common aspiration of the entire Chinese people on both sides of the Straits. If Nicaragua and the co-sponsors really care about the People from Taiwan, they should refrain from doing anything against the aspiration of the Chinese people and from raising a proposal that obstructs the peaceful reunification of China.  

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The question of Taiwan is an internal affair of China that can only be solved by the Chinese people themselves. No foreign country has the right to meddle in or interfere with it. The nature of the proposal is an infringement upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and an attempt to split China. The Chinese Government firmly opposes such a proposal. We urge all members of the General Committee to support the position of the Chinese delegation and make the decision not to include the proposal of "inviting Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer" as supplementary item in the agenda of the WHA.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


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