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SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (April 26, 2002 - Saipan Tribune/PINA Nius Online)---The Taiwan government has asked the Northern Marianas legislature to support Taiwan’s bid for observer status in the World Health Organization.

Speaker Heinz S. Hofschneider said he has already referred the matter to the House Committee on U.S. and Foreign Affairs for the drafting of a resolution in support of this request.

When asked to relate this to China’s claim that Taiwan is a renegade island province and cannot be recognized by other countries as a separate state, Representative William Torres said this issue transcends politics.

"This issue deals with health, which is of great importance in the region," said Representative Torres, who chairs the U.S. and foreign affairs committee.

His comments come in the wake of a resolution passed by the U.S. Congress that supports Taiwan¹s observer status. It said Taiwan’s achievements in the field of health are substantial.

The resolution also recognized the close collaboration that has existed between Taiwan and the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Representative Torres added: "Of course, we may have to refer the matter to the U.S. Interior Department representative since it deals with foreign matters."

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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