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President Ma Holds Press Conference and Delivers Statement on Invitation to Taiwan by WHA

President Ma Holds Press Conference and Delivers Statement on Invitation to Taiwan by WHA


April 30, 2009


President Ma Ying-jeou held a press conference on the morning of April 30 and delivered a statement regarding the invitation extended to Taiwan to attend this year's World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland from May 19 to May 27 as an observer.

The president said that this shows that the international community is once again paying attention to the health of the people of Taiwan. It also represents an important milestone for Taiwan, 38 years after it withdrew from the United Nations (UN), in participating in UN-affiliated activities out of practical considerations.

The president stressed that the world is changing and the ways people think are also different from before. Therefore, our thinking regarding participation in international organizations should reflect the times we live in, so that Taiwan can keep in step with world trends. The president said his administration is not pursuing participation for the sake of participation or breakthroughs purely to achieve breakthroughs, much less is the government engaging in needlessly combative behavior in pursuit of an ideological agenda. Participating in international organizations is for the sake of the people. Therefore, we must focus on the function of specific international organizations, seek to address the "kitchen table" concerns of the people of Taiwan, and enable Taiwan to make a substantive contribution to the international community, he said. President Ma said that we will continue to embrace this type of thinking in prioritizing which organizations Taiwan seeks to participate in and the strategies to achieve it. In other words, he said, we believe this type of pragmatic and flexible strategy will make it easier for Taiwan to achieve its ultimate objective of participating in international organizations.

President Ma said that the invitation extended to Taiwan to take part in the WHA shows that goodwill and harmony in cross-strait relations facilitate Taiwan's participation in the international community rather than impede it. The efforts and goodwill of Taiwan as well as the mutual trust achieved between the two sides have created more space for Taiwan than it had in the past and strengthened our firm belief that the two sides can do more than just seek to create a win-win situation on economic issues; in addition, we can also work to establish a co-existence in which the two sides are free to maintain their differences. Easier issues can first be tackled, followed by more difficult ones. This will help reduce friction between the two sides in the international arena, he said. President Ma said the international community also realizes it greatly benefits when there is reconciliation between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. As a result, just about every nation is pleased to see the rapprochement between Taiwan and mainland China. This is the case regardless of whether it is reconciliation between the two sides or reconciliation in the international community. From this perspective, he said, reconciliation, co-existence, and creating a win-win situation is an important contribution made by the Chinese people to world peace.

President Ma noted that enormous changes have been seen in the state of the world and cross-strait relations over the past 38 years. What has and will not change, however, are our principles. He said everything is carried out under the principle of "putting Taiwan first for the benefit of the people." Taiwan has engaged in a difficult struggle for the past 12 years in its effort to attend the WHA. We are deeply aware that "Taiwan needs the world and the world needs Taiwan." In the future, external relations will continue to be developed along this model, the president said.

【Source: Office of the President】