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New health minister announced early so he can get WHA invitation

2016/04/07 22:56:47

(CNA file photo)

Taipei, April 7 (CNA) Premier-designate Lin Chuan (林全) said Thursday he announced the appointment of Lin Tsou-yen (林奏延) as Taiwan's next minister of health and welfare ahead of other ministers in hopes that he can get invited to the World Health Assembly (WHA), which will meet May 23-28 in Geneva.

Taiwan has since 2009 attended the WHA as an observer, one year after President Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang (KMT) was inaugurated. Ma's successor, Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), will be sworn in on May 20.

While releasing a list of ministers without portfolio for his Cabinet, Lin Chuan specifically appointed the former vice health minister to lead the ministry "so we can inform the WHO to send us an invitation" to attend the WHA, the premier-to-be said.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials said they expect the invitation to arrive in Taipei before April 10, though they cannot be sure Beijing will not do anything to block the RSVP as Taiwan will experience another transfer of power from KMT to DPP next month, just a few days before the WHA opens.

Lin Chuan was quite confident his new health minister will get invited to represent Taiwan at the upcoming WHA to share Taiwan's public health experience with other WHO members.

"Basically, we will maintain the status quo (in regard to Taiwan's observer status) and see what can be done in the future to make progresses," said Lin.

(By Sophia Yehm Lu Hsin-hui and S.C. Chang)