12 May 2007

Kiribati's President voices support for Taiwan's bid to join WHO

9:12 am on 12 May 2007

The President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, has voiced strong support for Taiwan's bid to join the World Health Organisation or WHO.

Taiwan and Kiribati established diplomatic ties when President Tong took power in 2003.

President Tong told Radio Taiwan International that it is unfair and immoral that Taiwan has been excluded from the world health body and other international organisations like the United Nations.

The WHO secretariat last month rejected Taiwan's latest bid for WHO membership, saying the island was not a sovereign state and not eligible to apply for membership of the international body.

It also decided not to issue Taiwanese media accreditation to the World Health Assembly in Geneva next week.

Taiwan was forced out of the WHO in 1972, a year after it lost its United Nations China seat to Beijing.

Since 1997, Taipei's annual efforts to gain WHO observer status have been shot down by Beijing.