China is opposing Taiwan's bid for participation in the World Health Organization for the 10th year in a row, insisting that membership in the body is limited to sovereign nations.
Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian said Friday that the island was seeking observer status in the W.H.O. because Taiwan had become a "missing link" in the global health and medical system.
Beijing quickly responded. China's Foreign Ministry argued that the world body rejected Taiwan's bid nine consecutive times, and that the record shows there is a consensus on the issue.
China considers Taiwan a renegade province, and has prevented the island from forging diplomatic relations with most of the international community.
The United States has promised to help Taiwan defend itself against
attack by mainland China.
Taiwan and China split following the end of civil war in 1949.