Taiwan protests exclusion from WHO’s annual assembly
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Monday said it was “deeply regrettable” that Taiwan would be excluded from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual assembly in Geneva this week.
Regarding the assembly’s decision not to put a proposal initiated by Taiwan’s diplomatic allies to invite Taiwan to take part in the event as an observer on the agenda, MOFA expressed “dissatisfaction” and called it “deeply regrettable,” it said in a press release.
The World Health Assembly (WHA), which is taking place in Geneva from May 21-30, is the decision-making body for the WHO, which as a United Nations-affiliated agency does not recognize Taiwan as a member.
On Monday, the assembly decided not to extend an invitation to Taiwan due to opposition from China, though MOFA noted that four of Taiwan’s formal diplomatic allies — Belize, Nauru, eSwatini and the Marshall Islands — had spoken up for its inclusion during a debate.
In its statement, MOFA said Taiwan has “actively contributed to global health and safety for the past several decades, including by providing medical expertise and personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Taiwan’s participation in the WHA is a global health issue, and as such, professional considerations should not be subordinated to political ones, the ministry said.
“Excluding Taiwan because of political pressure from China is not only unjust, but also constitutes a grave risk to global health,” MOFA said.
The ministry went on to excoriate China’s “outrageous and unreasonable” attempts to block Taiwan’s inclusion in international organizations, saying these actions did not change the fact that “only Taiwan’s democratically-elected government has the right to represent Taiwan’s 23 million people at the WHO and other venues.
The Republic of China, as Taiwan is formally known, was expelled from the WHO in 1972 after losing its U.N. seat to the People’s Republic of China due to the issue of “China’s representation.”
Taiwan was allowed to attend the WHA as an observer under the designation “Chinese Taipei” from 2009-2016, when cross-Taiwan Strait relations were warmer under the then Kuomintang government.
Since the independence leaning Democratic Progressive Party took power, however, Taiwan has been blocked from attending the WHA since 2017.
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