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Calling Taiwan a 'province of China' totally unacceptable: MOFA

2011/05/17 01:43:51

Taipei, May 16 (CNA) Taiwan's Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta told aWorld Health Organization (WHO) official Monday that calling Taiwan aprovince of China -- as it did in a September, 2010 letter -- was"totally unacceptable," according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In a press release, MOFA said Chiu made the protest in personwhen he delivered a strong-worded letter of protest to WHO's legalcounsel Gian Luca Burci in the presence of six representatives ofTaiwan's diplomatic allies based in Geneva.

Chiu was protesting a letter issued by the WHOsecretary-general's office in September 2010 that instructed itsvarious agencies to use "the Taiwan province of China" wheneverreferring to Taiwan.

The effects of correspondence between the WHO and Chinese Taipeiin 2009 regarding the implementation of the International HealthRegulations (IHR) should prevail over those of the secretary-general's 2010 letter, Chiu said to Burci.

Chiu added that when referring to Taiwan, WHO should follow WHA'spractice by using the name of Chinese Taipei.

In his letter of protest to WHO Secretary-General Margaret Chan,the Taiwan minister pointed out that in a correspondence with ChineseTaipei in January, 2009 agreeing to accept Taiwan as part of the IHRoperation networks, the WHO asked Taiwan authorities to designate a"Point of Contact in Taipei."

However, Chiu continued, the WHO, in an internal document datedSeptember 2010, stated an inappropriate procedure for implementingthe IHR involving Taiwan and used an erroneous term to refer to thecountry.

The term -- "the Taiwan province of China" -- is biased and fullof political implications, he said. That term is not just completelycontrary to the fact, but also hinders the implementation of the IHR,Chiu said.

That false term is "totally unacceptable" and Chinese Taipeiwould like to express a strong protest over its use, Chiu said in hisletter.

The letter pointed out that Chinese Taipei has been invited tothe World Health Assembly, the highest decision making body of theWHO, for three years in a row and WHA in all of its officialdocuments has always used the name of Chinese Taipei.

The Chinese Taipei delegation to the WHA deeply regrets WHO's useof the term "the Taiwan province of China" that contravenes WHApractices and it sincerely hopes that WTO would immediately correctit on the principle of consistency and transparency, said the letter.

Representatives of Taiwan's allies based in Geneva also called onthe WTO to properly handle this issue, saying the WTO's term forTaiwan does not accord with the fact and does not show respect forthe country.

Accepting Chiu's letter on behalf of the secretary-general, Burcisaid he will quickly hand it over to Chan and the assembly will lookinto the matter later. He promised to keep in contact with ChineseTaipei over this matter.

Burci told Chiu that Taiwan's performances in the past WHAsessions were impressive and he hoped to see more of Taiwan in theupcoming events.

(By S.C. Chang)