Chen pledges to persevere on WHO membership after snub
Taiwan will continue to apply to become a full member of the World Health Organisation and will also apply for United Nations membership under the name 'Taiwan' in September, President Chen Shui-bian said yesterday.
The pledge came after the island failed in its latest bid to join the global health body.
The Taiwanese government even made a veiled threat to reduce co-operation with the WHO if it kept refusing Taiwan.
'Success may not come at the first, second or the third time, but as long as we have confidence and walk on the right path, we will succeed eventually,' Mr Chen said.
The World Health Assembly, the WHO's decision-making body, voted 148 to 17 to rule out discussion of the island's bid to join as a full member under 'Taiwan'.
It was the first time the island had applied to use that title to join the WHO as a full member but was the 11th time the assembly had rejected Taipei's bid for membership since it sought access to as an observer member in 1997.
The US, an informal ally of Taiwan which supported the island's bid for observer status, Japan and the European Union voted to oppose Taipei's bid, despite Mr Chen's efforts to hold video conferences to solicit support.
Washington had said it would not support Taipei's application because such a course was not in line with Mr Chen's promise to not change the cross-strait status quo.
Beijing hailed the decision, saying Taiwan was not a sovereign state and had no right to join. The global health body requires statehood to join. 'The unreasonable request met with firm opposition from a wide range of member countries and was resolutely refused by the assembly,' mainland Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.
But Mr Chen fire back, saying: 'Taiwan is a country and this is a fact and a reality that cannot be denied or overruled.' In a veiled warning, the government said Taiwan had agreed to abide by international health regulations spelled out by WHO, but Taipei would be forced to reduce its co-operation if it is cut off.
He said the island would continue its efforts to join the WHO under the name 'Taiwan'.
'In September this year, we will also use 'Taiwan' to apply to join the United Nations to allow international society to listen to the true voice of the Taiwanese,' he said.