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Statement by H.E. Ambassador SHA Zukang at the opening plenary of the second IGWG meeting on the revision of the International Health Regulations
(Geneva, 21 February 2005)
2005/02/22

Madam President,

We are happy to know the agenda of the meeting has been adopted. However, my delegation upholds that the Provisional Daily Timetable should be adjusted; otherwise the full participation in the discussion of my delegation would be eroded.

Madam President,

During the past three months, on the basis of the first IGWG meeting on the revision of the IHR, you, Madam President, the honorable Director General and the Secretariat of the WHO, have worked hard for bringing the negotiation to a consensus at an early date. My delegation really appreciates the efforts you have made.

We have noted that you, with the cooperation of the Secretariat, have timely issued a Chair's proposal after fully communicating with member states, China included of course. My delegation maintains that the Chair's proposal has incorporated to the greatest extent possible proposals where a consensus may lie and represents the result of your wisdom and useful work. My delegation believes that the Chair's proposal should be fully utilized by all member states, and will push the negotiation forward along right path. In this regard, my delegation is willing to respect other member states' opinions, that is, to use it as the basis of our work.

Madam President,

China has always attached great importance to the negotiation. During the previous discussions, all member states have clearly set out their concerns and positions, which have increased mutual understanding among us. In this sense, the negotiation has indeed made progress, because mutual understanding is the basis of negotiation. However, some major issues remain to be further negotiated, issues like the disease list in Annex II, verification, entry into force and reservation, information sharing during a suspected intentional release, settlement of disputes, and Review Committee. My delegation is very concerned over the above-mentioned issues, and will continue to actively participate in the discussion in a constructive and positive manner.

Madam President,

It should be stressed that the WHO, as one of the UN Specialized Agencies, is formed of sovereign states. The negotiation for the revision of the IHR is a negotiation among sovereign states. The IHR can only be widely accepted and its universal applicability ensured when member states have reached a consensus on its revision. For a member state, sovereignty and territorial integrity is of fundamental and utmost importance. Therefore, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is the very basis of the IHR and the international cooperation on disease prevention. Nothing in the IHR should harm or compromise the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states. My delegation can only consider to accept a consensus, provided this precondition is met.

Madam President,

My delegation upholds that, our job is to revise the IHR, no more no less. No attempt should be made to achieve other political purposes. For the revision, it should take into consideration of the different national situations. Member states have the right to decide how to implement it within their own territories after, and if, they have undertaken the obligation under the IHR.

The Chinese Government is confident and competent to resolve any issue related to the implementation of the IHR, based on the international law and other universally accepted norms.

Madam President,

On the basis of the above-mentioned understanding, my delegation will support and cooperate with you, and, together with other member states, does its best to contribute to an early conclusion of the negotiation.

Thank you, Madam President.

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