Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Commander in Chief spoke out

President Chen Shui-bian said Tuesday he took solace in the fact that the World Health Assembly spent hours debating Taiwan's application for membership in the World Health Organization although the issue failed to make the agenda of its ongoing meetings.

Chen said he did not expect the country could gain accession to the WHO on the first try, but vowed to continue the effort no matter how daunting the venture may be. In a bold departure from the last decade, Taiwan applied this year for WHO membership, instead of observer status in the WHA, the highest decision-making organ of the world health body.

"There is no need for righteous people to fret over a lack of company,”Chen said, referring to the fact that 17 WHO member states voted in support of Taiwan's entry. A total of 148 countries expressed disapproval for the debate, however.

Chen said he is confident the gap will grow increasingly small in the future with more and more member states to express sympathy for Taiwan's predicament.

"As long as we stick to doing the right thing, we will prevail eventually," the president added.“We must not lose heart but strive on until the world hears our voice.”

Despite the WHO setback, Chen said the country will go ahead and seek to join the United Nations under the name of "Taiwan”in September, after trying unsuccessfully to gain admission under the“Republic of China," the country's official title.

Chen said the key to winning membership in international organizations lies in normal statehood and insisted Taiwan is a sovereign country whether the world recognizes the fact or not.

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