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Central News Agency

2005-05-29 16:24:40

    Beijing, May 29 (CNA) If Taiwan experiences an outbreak of disease that might seriously affect public health, the World Health Organization (WHO) will, if necessary, send experts to the island to give assistance, according to the contents of a memorandum of understanding signed May 14 between China and the organization.

    The memorandum, which is designed to specify a stable mechanism for Taiwan to take part in WHO activities at the technical level, has already been put into effect.

    Chang Jung-Kung, spokesman and director of the department of mainland China affairs of Taiwan's main opposition Kuomintang, said Sunday that he has just obtained the contents of the memorandum through China's relevant institutions in charge of Taiwan affairs.

    According to Chang, the important contents of the memorandum are:

    A. Adhering to the goal and principle of the WHO as well as insisting on the Charter of the United Nations and the organization rules of the WHO, the aim of the memorandum is to help Taiwan's medical and public health experts to attend the activities of technical exchanges pushed by the WHO Secretariat.

    B. The exchanges will mainly touch on three kinds of matters:

     1. The WHO Secretariat can invite Taiwan's medical and public health experts to individually attend its technical activities. If necessary, Taiwan's experts can say they come from "Taiwan, China."

     2. The WHO Secretariat can send its staff and experts to Taiwan to examine the public health and contagious disease situation as well as to discuss relevant health issues with Taiwan medical and public health experts and to provide medical and public health technical assistance to the island.

     3. If Taiwan faces an outbreak of serious public health problems, the WHO Secretariat will, if necessary, send experts to Taiwan as soon as possible and give technical assistance to the island or invite Taiwan's medical and public health experts to join relevant technical activities initiated by the secretariat.

    C. The memorandum is a special arrangement in the absence of an agreement between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait on relevant matters. The two sides are encouraged to hold talks and jointly find as soon as possible an appropriate means for Taiwan to join the WHO.

    However, Hou Sheng-mou, minister of the Department of Health under the Executive Yuan, has made a strong protest to the WHO about the organization's arbitrary decision on the signing of the memorandum with China without the island's agreement.

    The Republic of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also said that Beijing has no right to unilaterally hold consultations and make arrangements with the WHO for Taiwan's participation in the WHO activities, claiming that the Taiwan government cannot accept any arrangement that might downgrade the island's status.

    Sha Zukang, representative of China's permanent mission to U.N. Office at Geneva, said in a recent interview with the Xinhua News Agency that "both sides of the Taiwan Strait should resolve their own health issues. Currently, both sides have some political problems, but disease will not await (the resolution of political problems) . Therefore, China will first sign a memorandum of understanding with the WHO as a special arrangement prior to an agreement between Taipei and Beijing."

    He also promised in the interview that China would certainly inform Taiwan about the contents of the memorandum through appropriate channels. By H.Y. Chou and P.C.Tang)


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