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Taiwan welcomes U.S. support for greater WHO participation

2012/05/17 23:17:59

Taipei, May 17 (CNA) Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta said Thursday he welcomes the United States' call for "normalization" of Taiwan's participation in World Health Organization (WHO) activities.

In a report delivered to Congress late last month on its assistance to Taiwan's bid to participate in WHO programs and technical activities, the U.S. Department of State expressed concern about the WHO's many restrictions on Taiwan's such efforts.

The report said the U.S. supports Taiwan's attendance at the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) -- the WHO's decision-making arm -- and that such participation should be normalized.

"We welcome the U.S. call for normalization of our participation in the WHO activities," Chiu said, adding that Taiwan wants meaningful participation in WHO activities.

He also explained that normalization refers to allowing Taiwan to take part in more WHO activities, not just presence at the WHA which tends to last for a few days or a week.

For instance, Chiu said Taiwan looks forward to joining the WHO's International Food Safety Authorities Network (IFOSAN), Stop TB Partnership and activities organized by the WHO's Western Pacific Regional Office.

The WHO has sent an invitation to the Department of Health to attend this year's WHA that will open May 21 in Geneva.

Chiu will head the Taiwan delegation to the May 21-26 meeting.

This will be the fourth year that Taiwan attends the conference since it was first invited to go as an observer under the name of Chinese Taipei in 2009.

(By Chen Ching-fang and Sofia Wu)