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Taiwan to China: Release Virus Info.   01/22 06:19

   TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen urged China on 
Wednesday to release all information about the outbreak of a new virus and work 
with Taiwan on curbing its spread. 

   At China's insistence, Taiwan is not a member of the World Health 
Organization and is not allowed to participate in any of its meetings. However, 
large numbers of Taiwanese travel to and live in China, where hundreds of 
people have been sickened and nine have died in an outbreak that apparently 
originated in the city of Wuhan. 

   Despite Beijing's restrictions, the Taiwan Center for Disease Control said 
earlier this month it had been notified on Jan. 15 by its Chinese counterpart 
about the outbreak. It said it had also sent two experts to Wuhan to visit 
health care facilities in order to "better understand the treatment process of 
the cases."

   Tsai made no mention of those interactions at her news conference Wednesday. 
Calls to her spokesman rang unanswered. 

   "I especially want to urge China, being a member of international society, 
that it should fulfill its responsibilities to make the situation of the 
outbreak transparent, and to share accurate information on the outbreak with 
Taiwan," Tsai told reporters. 

   One case of the previously unknown coronavirus has been confirmed in Taiwan 
and others in Macao, South Korea, Japan, Thailand and the United States. The 
Taiwanese patient, a businesswoman who recently returned from Wuhan, is 
recovering, Tsai said. 

   Sharing information is also important for the health of the Chinese 
population and Beijing "should not put political concerns above the protection 
of its own people," Tsai said. 

   China regards Taiwan as its own territory and says it is not entitled to 
representation in most international bodies. 

   "I want to reiterate that Taiwan is a member of international society. The 
23 million people here, like all other people in every corner of the world, are 
facing threats to their own health," Tsai said. 

   Taiwan, which was heavily affected by the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak that also 
originated in China, has enacted strict monitoring, detection and quarantine 
measures. 

   In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the Taiwanese 
experts had visited Wuhan at Taiwan's request on Jan. 13-14 and held exchanges 
with Chinese colleagues. 

   "No one cares more about the health welfare of Taiwan compatriots than the 
Chinese central government," Geng said at a daily briefing on Wednesday.

   Chiu Chui-cheng, deputy minister of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, told 
The Associated Press that the visit was facilitated by an existing bilateral 
agreement covering medicine and public health. 

   "They dealt with issues related to the health and well-being of both 
countries' people," Chiu said.


(KR)

 
 
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