By H.E. Mr. GAO Qiang
Head of the Chinese Delegation and
Minister of Health of China
The Chinese delegation would like to congratulate you on your election as Chairperson of this Assembly. We are confident that, with your wisdom and competence, this Assembly will be a complete success. The Chinese delegation will fully support your work and cooperate with other Member States towards the fulfillment of the goals set by this Assembly.
Madame Chairperson, distinguished Ministers, and fellow delegates,
At its meeting held this morning, the General Committee adhered to the principles, upheld justice, and made the ruling of not including the Taiwan-related proposal in the Provisional Agenda. We fully support this decision. It is clear to all of us that the fundamental reason for the Assembly to have repeatedly rejected the proposal by a few countries to invite Taiwan to participate in WHA as an observer is that the proposal violates the basic principles and purposes of the UN Charter, the Constitution of WHO, and relevant resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly and WHA. As an ancient Chinese saying goes, "Justified cause wins generous supports, while unjustified cause gets few." WHO is a forum for countries around the world to seek health for mankind and discuss the global health issues, but not a venue to attempt to split China and engage in such "Taiwan independence" activities as "One Side One State". A few countries interfere into China's internal affairs and conduct activities aimed at splitting China by means of the Taiwan-related proposal. This is not acceptable to us, neither the vast majority of justice-upholding Member States.
To address the Taiwan-related issues in WHO, we have always adhered to two principles: First, our determination to safeguard State sovereignty and territorial integrity will never waver. We will never allow anyone to conduct secessionist activities by using the forum of WHA. Second, our guidelines to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the Taiwan compatriots will never change. We hope that cross-Straits consultation will be resumed under the One-China principle to discuss issues of concern to the Taiwan compatriots, including Taiwan's participation in the activities of WHO, which will be a priority. Based on the principles above, I made four proposals on behalf of the Chinese Government at last year's WHA. First, we welcome Taiwan to send medical professionals to join the Chinese delegation in participating in WHA. Second, under the One-China principle, the Chinese Government is ready to discuss with Taiwan on how its professionals can participate in the relevant WHO activities in an appropriate manner. Third, for exceptional arrangement, before agreement is reached between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits, the Chinese Government is ready to work with the WHO Secretariat to facilitate participation by Taiwan medical professionals in WHO technical exchanges. Fourth, if Taiwan needs technical assistance from WHO and submits requests to us, we will readily consider them. This proposal made by the Chinese Government is principle-based and practical, and has won popular support and recognition by the international community. Now, such position of ours remains unchanged.
As an old Chinese saying goes, "blood is thicker than water." People from China mainland and Taiwan compatriots are flesh brothers and sisters. We will do our utmost to safeguard the health rights of the Taiwan people. It is our solemn commitment to the Taiwan compatriots that we will exert our greatest efforts to serve the interests of the Taiwan compatriots, the cross-Strait exchanges, and the peaceful reunification of the motherland, and we will endeavor to do an excellent job.
We are deeply aware that making commitment needs courage and translating commitment into actions needs sincerity. In the past year, the Chinese Government has adopted a series of concrete measures to implement the four proposals mentioned above.
First, we sincerely invited Taiwan to send delegates to join the Chinese delegation and attend WHA together with us. Taiwan delegates in the Chinese delegation can express their views on health and technical matters. We will provide necessary facilitation to them. But to our regret, this good will of ours has not received any positive response from Taiwan.
Second, actively promote direct cross-Straits communication on health issues. We suggest that appropriate institutions of the two sides act as the liaison units of health exchanges between the two sides, and direct communication mechanism can be established to conduct concrete consultation on related issues.
Third, before the realization of direct consultation between the two sides, we have actively promoted the participation by medical professionals from Taiwan in technical exchanges organized by WHO. We took the initiative to consult earnestly and pragmatically with the Secretariat of WHO, and reached consensus on related issues. A few days ago, Director General Dr. J. W. Lee and I signed Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Health of the People's Republic of China and the Secretariat of the World Health Organization. According to procedures provided in the MOU, WHO Secretariat can invite medical and public health experts from Taiwan to participate in its technical activities, and can also send staff members and experts to Taiwan to investigate the health or epidemic situation and to provide medical and public health technical assistance. In case of an acute public health emergency in Taiwan, WHO can send staff members and experts to Taiwan for field visits or provide public health technical assistance, or invite Taiwan medical and public health experts to participate in relevant technical activities. We look forward to the technical exchanges between health professionals from Taiwan and WHO.
Over the past year, what we have done fully demonstrates that the Chinese Government is full of sincerity toward the resolution of health issues concerned by the Taiwan compatriots, the four proposals have enjoyed wide popularity, and the concrete measures are practical and operable. We hope that Taiwan people can enjoy the results of the development of world health and that the Taiwan authorities will take genuine consideration of the health of Taiwan people and resolve the issues concerned by the Taiwan compatriots in accordance with the above-mentioned arrangement in a pragmatic and flexible manner.
The Taiwan question is the internal affair of China. China is a country of 1.3 billion population, including the 23 million compatriots in Taiwan. The mainland is the mainland of 1.3 billion Chinese people, including 23 million compatriots in Taiwan, and Taiwan is the Taiwan of 1.3 billion Chinese people including 23 million compatriots. The Taiwan question must be resolved by the 1.3 billion Chinese people ourselves. Recently, there have been positive signs of sound interactions between the two sides. At the invitation of Mr. Hu Jintao, the Secretary-General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Mr. Lien Chan, Chairman of Kuomingtang (KMT) and Mr. James Soong, Chairman of People First Party in Taiwan visited mainland successively. The two sides exchanged views on issues of common concern to the people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits. This will have positive and far-reaching impact on the promotion of economic exchanges and cooperation and peaceful and stable development of the cross-Straits relations. Facts have proved that the Chinese people have the wisdom, capability, and ways to solve their own problems. This positive development is hard-won, therefore we should cherish it. We hope such trend will go on and oppose anyone's deliberate sabotage. We also hope that the few countries will no longer instigate conflicts or affect the cross-Straits cooperation, nor interfere in China's internal affairs.
Madame Chairperson, distinguished Ministers, and fellow delegates,
The Taiwan-related proposal tabled by a few countries has severely interrupted the normal order of the Assembly, undermined unity among Member States, wasted a lot of time and resources, and is opposed by the majority of Member States. Such situation should not continue any more. The Chinese Government is ready to make efforts to promote technical exchanges between health professionals from Taiwan and WHO. We hope that the Taiwan authorities will proceed from the health interests of 23 million Taiwan people and make positive response to our acts of good will. We hope those few countries will abide by the UN Charter and norms of international law, respect the provisions of the Constitution of WHO, and no longer put forward such proposals aimed at splitting China and sabotaging cross-Straits cooperation. I strongly appeal to all the delegates here to understand and support the Chinese government's position, give unanimous support to the recommendation made by the General Committee, and oppose the inclusion of the Taiwan-related proposal in the provisional agenda of this Assembly.
Thank you, Madame Chairperson.