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Taiwan bidding for membership of WHO

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An application to the World Health Organization (WHO), signed by Taiwanese President Chen Shu-Bian has made clear his country’s desire to attain membership in the organization this year.

According to a five-point press release issued this week by Taiwan’s embassy here, the bid is the first of its kind, since in previous years they have repeatedly applied for observer status to the organization.{{more}} All their applications were denied.

The release stated that a vast majority of Taiwanese have requested that the government apply for WHO membership, in an effort to protect its 23 million strong population.

The release states that Taiwan is extremely willing and able to contribute to the world health network, and as a member of the organization could do so more effectively and systematically. The country already has over 30 technical missions in more than a dozen countries, and could increase its outreach under the WHO.

Noting that Taiwan can be considered the hub of traffic through Asia, and that infectious diseases know no national boundaries, the embassy indicated that its country’s full admission into the WHO is in the world’s best interest.

Using the example of the 2003 SARS outbreak, which originated in mainland China and spread across Asia, Europe and North America, the embassy believes that Taiwan’s exclusion from the organization made it difficult for them to obtain information, but thanks to the nation’s health care system, they were able to contain the epidemic.

The release stated that they hope they will be recognized and accepted by the organization and international community, whose principle of “Health For All” should also pertain to their nation.

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