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ROC Central News Agency

2007-05-15 19:46:13

    Taipei, May 15 (CNA) Despite Taiwan's latest setback in its World Health Organization (WHO) membership bid, the government will not give up its efforts to make the country a member of the world body, Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang said Tuesday.

    Huang made the remarks after member states of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the WHO's decision-making arm, ruled out a proposal a day earlier to discuss Taiwan's application to enter the WHO during the first day of its week-long 60th annual conference in Geneva.

    It was the first time in a decade that the country sought to join the WHO under the name of "Taiwan" as a full member, although WHA member states decided not to include the proposal on the conference's agenda for further discussions by a vote of 148-17.

    Two of Taiwan's diplomatic allies -- Nicaragua and Marshall Islands -- were absent from the session, ministry officials said, pointing out that it is worth noting that Costa Rica, another of Taiwan's 25 diplomatic partners, voted "no."

    According to government officials, it is not surprising that the United States, the European Union and Japan cast "no" votes against discussions for Taiwan's WHO membership. Despite this, the government is poised to continue with the bid, they added.

    Although the United States cast a "no" vote due to its "one China" policy, Huang said that Washington later still voiced its backing for Taiwan's meaningful participation in the WHO as an observer. "Basically, the United States is quite friendly toward Taiwan and has adopted a balancing attitude regarding this country's participation in the WHO," Huang explained.

    As for Japan's "no" vote, ministry officials said that Japan had earlier informed Taiwan that its position was due to a thaw in Tokyo-Beijing relations.

(By Flor Wang)


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