Taiwan says membership won’t be discussed at WHO meeting

19-May-2020 Intellasia | AFP | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Taiwan on Monday said its exclusion from the World Health Organization will not be raised at the global health body’s annual policy meeting this week because allies want to focus on the fight against the coronavirus.

Taiwan has had remarkable success in combatting the pandemic with only seven deaths and some 400 infections.

But it is frozen out of the WHO by Beijing which regards the self-ruled democratic island of 23 million people as its own territory and has vowed to take it by force if necessary.

In recent years China has tried to further isolate Taiwan by keeping it locked out of international bodies including the WHO.

But a growing number of countries, including the United States, have called for Taiwan to be given a seat at the table, including observer status at the World Health Assembly (WHA), which opens virtually on Monday because of the global pandemic.

Nearly 15 countries, including Belise, Guatemala, the Marshall Islands and Honduras, had written to the director general of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, asking that the question of Taiwan’s participation be added to the agenda.

But on Monday Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu said “countries want to use the limited time available to concentrate on ways of containing the pandemic”.

“We have accepted the suggestion from our allies and like-minded nations to wait until the resumed session before further promoting our bid,” Wu said.

He added that allies had suggested instead the proposal be taken up later in the year when the WHO is expected to hold in-person meetings.

The calls for Taiwan to join the meetings had angered Beijing.

Taiwanofficially the Republic of Chinawas a founding member of the WHO when the global health body was created in 1948.

But it was expelled in 1972 a year after losing the “China” seat at the United Nations to the People’s Republic of China.

Between 2009 and 2016 Beijing allowed Taiwan to attend the WHA as an observer under the name “Chinese Taipei”.

But Beijing has closed the doors since the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen who views the island as a de facto independent nation and does not subscribe to Beijing’s idea that it belongs to a “one China”.



Category: Taiwan

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