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ROC Central News Agency

2007-05-12 13:32:35

    Geneva, May 11 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian reiterated Friday that Taiwan's application to join the World Health Organization (WHO) under the name of "Taiwan" does not mean any changes in its national title and thus has not violated his "four noes" commitments.

    Chen made the remarks during a satellite video conference with international media in Geneva, an event held ahead of the World Health Assembly (WHA) -- the WHO's decision-making arm -- to promote the country's bid to become a full member of the WHO under the name of "Taiwan."

    Showing a letter addressed to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan through which the application was filed, Chen pointed out that the letter was sent in the name of the president of "Republic of China" -- the country's official name.

    However, as the country can neither change its official title nor use the name "Republic of China" to apply to join international organizations, it has decided to use the name "Taiwan," Chen said.

    According to Chen, the decision is correct because "Taiwan" is the "most beautiful, suitable and satisfactory" name for the country.

    Chen stressed the move does not involve nor violate his "four noes" commitments to the United States.

    He was referring to pledges made in his 2000 and 2004 inaugural addresses that if China has no intention of using force against Taiwan, he will not declare Taiwan independence, not change the official name of the country, not include the "state-to-state" concept on cross-strait relations in the Constitution, and not promote a referendum to change the cross-strait status quo.

    Although in favor of Taiwan's participation as an observer in the WHA, the United States has adopted a position of not supporting Taiwan's pursuit for membership in international organizations where statehood is required and has repeatedly stressed the importance it attaches to the "four noes" pledges.

    The president said he understands the U.S. stand on the issue but he also urged the United States to listen to the voices of Taiwan's 23 million people.

    Noting that Taiwan's bid for observer status at the WHA has remained unsuccessful for the past 10 years, Chen said the country will continue to work on the goal of being included in the WHO.

    Chen said he has written Chan three times to insist that the WHO deal with Taiwan's application according to due process, although that request was unilaterally turned down by the WHO Secretariat on each occasion on the grounds that Taiwan is not a sovereign state.

    While 12 of Taiwan's diplomatic allies have also written to Chan on behalf of Taiwan, they are expected to once again raise the issue during this year's WHA, slated to open May 14.

(By Neil Lu and Y.F. Low)


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