Taiwan's new envoy to the US has arrived in Washington only to be greeted by a snub from the administration of President George W. Bush, which has backed down on supporting the island's bid to join the World Health Organisation. Joseph Wu Jau-shieh, the first envoy from the pro-independence, ruling Democratic Progressive Party, received a warm welcome on Sunday. But his mission to improve US-Taiwan ties and promote Taiwanese interests has been marred by Washington's refusal to support President Chen Shui-bian's bid to join the WHO. Mr Wu is a former head of the Mainland Affairs Council, the island's top mainland policy planner. Just before Mr Wu arrived in Washington, the US State Department said it was the US' set policy not to support Taiwan's bid to join international organisations where statehood was required for membership. It said on its website that the US had always encouraged Taiwan to seek 'meaningful participation in international organisations' and that the people of Taiwan 'should enjoy the same rights as others do in the world'. But Washington can only support Taiwan's 'meaningful participation' as an observer of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, rather than join the WHO as a full member, it said. The State Department's comments came after Mr Chen wrote to WHO Director-General, Hong Kong's Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, last Wednesday saying he was applying for the island to join the global health body in the name of 'Taiwan'. Mr Chen's secretary-general, Chiou I-jen, said it was time for the island to change tack and go ahead with its application to join the WHO in the name of Taiwan. The use of the name Taiwan is considered politically sensitive because it implies the island has independence status - something Beijing vehemently opposes and warns would lead to a military attack by the mainland. The State Department, however, said the US did not support Taiwanese independence and opposed any unilateral changes to the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, by either Taiwan or the mainland. In response to his first perceived challengers in the US, Mr Wu, said he would do all he could to seek US support and understanding. 'I will try my utmost to improve communication with the US and to tell them that it is unfair for Taiwan to be excluded from the world health body,' he said.