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Taiwan continues to protest WHO name dispute

Taiwan continues to protest WHO name dispute

Taiwan will continue to protest to the World Health Organization (WHO) over an internal document issued last September instructing members to refer to Chinese Taipei in the future as "Taiwan, province of China," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.

It made the statement after the U.S. State Department expressed concern in a recent report to Congress over the WHO's lack of transparency in deciding Taiwan's official designation.

“Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta will express our firm stance on the issue when he arrives in Geneva for the annual conference of the World Health Assembly (WHA) next week,” said Steve Hsia, the ministry’s deputy spokesman.

The WHA, in which Taiwan has held observer status since 2009, is the WHO's decision-making arm.

The deputy spokesman, however, emphasized that Taiwan’s communication channels with the WHO have not been hampered by the name dispute.

"Taiwan does not need to go through China when it needs to make contact with the WHO," Hsia said.

He also took the opportunity to thank the U.S. for supporting Taiwan’s participation in various international organizations.

The furor was sparked when an opposition Democratic Progressive Party legislator revealed to the media that an internal letter circulated among WHO members last September by Anne Marie Warning, executive director of the office of WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, urged officials to use “Taiwan, province of China” in stead of the correct "Chinese Taipei" designation when referring to Taiwan in WHO publications.

Several protests have failed to elicit an official response from the WHO.


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