Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Taiwan

Delivered in Plenary - 18th May 2006

Mr President

Taiwan is a prosperous, peaceful, democratic country which upholds high standards of human rights and the rule of law and threatens no-one. Its citizens enjoy some of the best healthcare provisions in Asia. For some time, going back to the SARS epidemic three years ago, Taiwan has attempted to gain observer status in the World Health Organisation. Regrettably, the People’s Republic of China has used every available means to block this. Taiwan deserves better. It already faces an immensely hostile military build-up by China, which last year passed the anti-secession law, escalating the degree of confrontation across the Taiwanese Straits.

Taiwan, like Hong Kong, is already a full member of the WTO, as the People’s Republic of China saw commercial advantage in having it in the organisation. Its current opposition to Taiwan’s WHO bid – and of course Taiwan would be a key player in preventing any future bird flu pandemic, should that arise – is frankly inconsistent and makes China look like a big bully.