[...] Taiwan officials said China's successful bid in May to keep Taiwan out of the World Health Organization prevents Taiwan medical teams from fully aiding efforts to counter infectious diseases.Taiwan is pressing ahead for a referendum on another bid to join the United Nations -- and because the referendum will refer to the nation as Taiwan, it will also serve as a plebiscite for a de facto name change, which China vehemently opposes.
This, they said, could have catastrophic consequences. They gave an example from July whereby the WHO appeared to act as if the island did not exist.
According to a Taiwan statement, the WHO failed to respond to Taiwan officials after they alerted the global health organization about a pair of tuberculosis patients who had travelled by air from Taiwan to Nanjing in China via Hong Kong.
In that case, Taiwan itself sent experts to China to arrange for the patients' return by chartering a small boat, and gaining access to a medical helicopter, the statement said.(1)
Washington is nervous and wishy-washy, as usual, about Taiwan's latest move to join the UN, which elicited a broadside from President Chen Shui-bian. He as much said that Washington needs to grow backbone and strongly support Taiwan's bid.
If there was ever a time for Taiwan and the US to press hard on the UN issue, the months running up to the 2008 Olympics are it. Beijing knows the China Olympics will be a bust if they're pulled into a confrontation with the US over Taiwan.
We don't want to wait until the killer pandemic strikes before deciding that Taiwan needs to be part of the United Nations.
1) Taiwan president turns up the heat on UN bid