Rallying for WHO entry in Seattle on the 17th:

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For Immediate Release

June 16, 2008

Contacts:
Rebecca Lee 206-390-2839
CJ Wang 202-210-0436
Iris Ho 202-280-0166

TAIWANESE AMERICANS IN SEATTLE CALL UPON PACIFIC HEALTH SUMMIT TO SUPPORT TAIWAN’S INCLUSION IN THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO)

On June 17, from 10:00AM until noon, Taiwanese Americans will rally in front of the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle urging participants in the Pacific Health Summit to put the issue of Taiwan’s inclusion in the World Health Organization (WHO) on the summit’s agenda.

Earlier this month, Dr. Bob Yang, the President of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA - www.fapa.org), a world-wide organization promoting freedom, democracy, human rights and international participation for the people of Taiwan, wrote a letter to each summit participant.

In the letter dated June 1 (See: below for full text), Dr. Yang wrote: “As world-renowned professionals in the fields of science and health, we trust that you are well aware of Taiwan’s lack of access to the highest level of medical - and health information within the WHO network and that you are cognizant of Taiwan’s generous contributions to the global campaigns on AIDS and other epidemic diseases.”

The letter concludes: “We hope that you will bring up Taiwan’s participation (or lack thereof) in the international health network during your meeting.”

In Taiwan there is broad and strong public support for Taiwan’s full membership in the WHO. In an opinion poll held in Taiwan last year, 94,9% of respondents expressed support for the nation’s entry as a full member of the WHO under the name “Taiwan.” (Source: Foundation of Medical Professionals Alliance in Taiwan, April 2007).

China, due to its unfounded territorial claims on Taiwan, has for the past decade been the main obstacle for Taiwan to join international organizations in general and the WHO in particular. Adding insult to injury, in 2005 the WHO and China concluded a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding that established specific procedures for the handling of information between the WHO and Taiwan. These procedures require the WHO to consult with the PRC before sending any medical information or assistance to Taiwan and to allow the PRC to determine whether such information is passed on to the Taiwanese health authorities at all.

This is all the more ironic, for in its charter, the WHO sets forth the objective of attaining the highest possible level of health for all people.

In the meantime, Rep. Dennis Moore (D-KS) issued an Extension of Remarks (See: below) in the Congressional Record dated May 23 concluding: “Taiwan’s membership in the WHO is not only in the interest of the people of Taiwan , it is in the interest of the international community and the WHO itself: as the WHO stands to benefit significantly from the financial and technological contributions that Taiwan has to offer. Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join me in support of Taiwan’s inclusion in the World Health Organization.”

Taiwan has sought observer status at the annual meeting of the WHO every year since 1997.