Taiwan and the World Health Assembly: Smoke but no fire

Taiwan will be excluded from the World Health Assembly for the seventh year in a row.

apart from, A powerful message from the United States Taiwan has been barred from the World Health Assembly (WHA) again as Chinese diplomats continue to block opportunities to personally invite WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to Taipei as an observer. It seems that it will be

In a quick rebuttal to the US appeal, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said: Said The Taipei government’s rejection of the “one China” principle, which is followed by both the United States and the United Nations, meant that “the political foundation for the Taiwan region to join the WHA no longer exists.”

“The US statement is irrelevant and misleading,” Wang Webin said at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday. “We reiterate our call on the United States to adhere to the one-China principle, abide by international law, and act on the U.S. leadership’s commitment not to support ‘Taiwan independence.'”

The debate over Taiwan’s participation in the next WHA has been a long-standing issue since the WHO Director-General canceled Taiwan’s traditional invitation to the WHO’s highest decision-making body in 2017.

But after a year of heightened tensions in the western Pacific as China stepped up its one-China policy and used its military force in the war game, the debate over Taiwan’s participation now has more meaning. It will be

The United States has also strengthened its support for Taiwan. In April, the United States approved a $120 million arms sale to Taiwan, the largest military sale to Taiwan in more than a decade. The sale coincided with joint military exercises with Japan in the East China Sea as a display of force beyond Chinese territorial waters.

Last year’s General Assembly was attended by more WHO member states than ever before, including Germany’s new coalition. Appeal for Taiwan’s re-establishment As a WHA observer. But there was little pressure to build. In the absence of a special DG invitation to circumvent the qualification rules of WHO Member States.

US: Taiwan is a ‘trusted partner and a vibrant democracy’

This year’s debate began with a particularly forceful remark. Statement by US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken himself.

“Taiwan is a highly competent, enthusiastic and responsible member of the global health community and has been invited to attend previous WHA meetings as an observer,” Blinken said in a statement Tuesday.

“Taiwan’s isolation from the WHA, the preeminent global health forum, is unfair and undermines the comprehensive global public health cooperation and security that the world seeks,” said Blinken, adding, “Taiwan can be trusted.” A partner, a vibrant democracy and a force for good.” in the world. ”

China started blocking Taiwan from joining in 2017

China, which considers Taiwan to be one of its provinces, began blocking Taipei from joining the WHO after hardliner Tsai Ing-wen was elected president in 2016. Her Democratic Progressive Party considers Taiwan an independent nation.

From 2009 to 2016, Taiwan participated in the WHA as an observer under the name “Chinese Taipei”, a designation deemed unacceptable by the current government in Taipei.

Following the annual move, the United States and Taipei’s other key allies have begun stepping up diplomatic efforts to pressure the WHO to admit Taiwan’s WHA membership. Assembly on Sunday, May 21.

Taiwan’s unique capabilities and approaches, including significant public health expertise, democratic governance, and advanced technology, will be of great value to inform WHA’s deliberations. ” Brinken said in a statement.

“Inviting Taiwan as an observer would exemplify WHO’s commitment to a comprehensive ‘Health for All’ approach to global health cooperation,” he added, including SAR-CoV2. Mentioned Taipei’s recognized achievements in scientific research and assistance to Taiwan. It has supplied products to relevant low-income countries.

Severe rebuke from Chinese authorities

Taiwan is not recognized as an independent state by the United Nations, and the WHO is not the only international organization that excludes Taiwan. Others include the International Civil Aviation Organization and Interpol, which promotes global cooperation among police.

A conference dedicated to “expanding Taiwan’s participation in the UN system and other international fora” was held in Washington, D.C., in April between U.S. and Taiwanese officials, and the discussion focused on “Taiwan’s participation in the upcoming WHA.” short-term opportunities to support expansion”. “A meaningful participation in non-UN international, regional and multilateral organizations”; The US State Department said:.

Taiwan does not need to be a state in organizations such as the World Trade Organization, the Asian Development Bank, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, which makes it a member.

“The One China Principle has overwhelming support from the international community and represents a global trend,” Webin said. “This is not denied.”

The drama surrounding the longstanding relationship between WHO and Taiwan

The 76th WHA will be the seventh year of headaches for the WHO leadership, which has long struggled to avoid a minefield over the Taiwan issue.

and Explosive 2020 interview According to Hong Kong broadcaster RTHK News, WHO top official Bruce Aylward hung up the call live after being questioned about Taiwan’s membership of the organization.

The interview went viral, provoking fierce criticism and accusations of bigotry from Taiwan. Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu reposted an interview with Aylward in a tweet, saying, “Why can’t the WHO even say ‘Taiwan’?”

Mr. Wu, who has been the foreign minister of the Tsai Ing-wen administration since 2018, repeatedly criticized the WHO It condemned its “continued indifference” to the health of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people and called on the group to “reject China’s political interference.”

Image credit: © Keystone: Richie B. Tongo .

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