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Two physician lawmakers to attend WHA
Publish Date: 2017/05/09
Update Date: 2017/05/09
Taipei, May 8 (CNA) Two legislators from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who have physician licenses said they will take part in this year's World Health Assembly in their capacity as representatives of civic groups.

The annual conference of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, is scheduled to be held in Geneva May 22-31, but Taiwan has yet to receive an invitation to attend as an observer.

If an official Taiwan delegation cannot take part, DPP legislators Chiu Tai-yuan  and Lin Ching-yi will still be there as part of associations they belong to that have received invitations to the meeting.

Chiu, who is currently the president of the Taiwan Medical Association, said he has the responsibility to attend the WHA as a representative of the association and is scheduled to depart on May 19.

Lin will go to Geneva with the Taiwan Medical Women's Association on May 18. She said that while she is attending the WHA as part of a civic group, she will still get in touch with government officials and elected representatives in her capacity as a legislator.

DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng said, meanwhile, that the Legislature's Foreign and National Defense Committee is assessing whether to organize a group to go to Geneva.

Another DPP lawmaker, Tsai Shih-ying, said the committee discussed a possible visit but is still studying an itinerary and its potential impact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Tsai said a decision would be made in the next two days.

Taiwan first attended the WHA as an observer in 2009, a year after the government of former President Ma Ying-jeou came to power and pursued a more conciliatory policy toward Beijing.

Since then, Taipei has sent a delegation to Geneva every year but has not yet received an invitation to the upcoming meeting.

Last year, Taiwan received an invitation to the WHA just weeks before President Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence DPP took office.

That invitation contained an unexpected reference to United Nations Resolution No. 2758, passed on Oct. 25, 1971, which recognizes the People's Republic of China as "the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations" and expelled the representatives of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

There have been concerns that Beijing might try to block Taiwan's invitation to the WHA this year in light of the increasingly strained relations between Taiwan and China since Tsai took office on May 20, 2016.
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