Taiwan protests against WHO map connecting island with China

Taiwan on Friday protested a move by the World Health Organization to classify it as an area affected with human cases of the deadly H5N1 bird flu, after the international body published a map lumping it with China.

The two sides split amid civil war in 1949. China claims sovereignty over the self-ruled island, but concedes it does not administer it.

The WHO Web site has maps showing countries with confirmed human cases of the flu marked in yellow. Taiwan, like China, is marked in yellow, even though the island has no human cases of the H5N1 bird flu strain.

On Wednesday China announced its tenth human fatality from the disease.

Foreign Minister James Huang told lawmakers Friday the WHO maps had damaged Taiwan's image.

He said he was asking Taiwanese representatives overseas to make it clear to host countries that there were no human cases of bird flu on the island.

"Taiwan is not an area affected by bird flu and is certainly not part of the People's Republic of China," Huang said.

Taiwan, which lost the China seat at the United Nations in 1971, is not a member of the WHO. Its successive annual campaigns to join have all been beaten back by China, which opposes any moves that could undermine its claim to sovereignty over the island, reports the AP.


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