Taiwan on Friday thanked US Secretary of State Antony Blinken after Washington extended its support for Taipei’s bid at the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision making body of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that excluding a “vibrant democracy” while jeopardizing global health is wrong, especially at the behest of China.
“My appreciation to @SecBlinken for urging @WHO to immediately invite #Taiwan to #WHA74. Excluding a reliable partner, vibrant democracy & force for good in the world while jeopardizing global health is wrong, especially at the behest of #China (sic),” Taiwan Foreign Ministry said in a tweet.
Earlier, the United States called upon the WHO to invite Taiwan to participate as an observer at the upcoming annual meeting of WHA, saying there is “no reasonable justification” for Taipei’s continued exclusion from the forum.
“There is no reasonable justification for Taiwan’s continued exclusion from this forum, and the United States calls upon the WHO Director-General to invite Taiwan to participate as an observer at the WHA – as it has in previous years, prior to objections registered by the government of the People’s Republic of China,” Mr Blinken said in a statement.
Asserting that global health and global health security challenges do not respect borders nor recognize political disputes, Mr Blinken said that Taiwan offers valuable contributions and lessons learned from its approach to these issues.
“Taiwan offers valuable contributions and lessons learned from its approach to these issues, and WHO leadership and all responsible nations should recognize that excluding the interests of 24 million people at the WHA serves only to imperil, not advance, our shared global health objectives,” he added.
The WHA is set to hold its 74th annual meeting virtually from Geneva, Switzerland, from May 24 to June 1.
Recently, foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) countries have come out in support of Taiwan’s observer status in the decision-making body of the WHO.
The Beijing government has been blocking Taiwan’s representation at WHO meetings after the self-ruled democracy elected Tsai Ing-wen as Taiwan’s president in 2016 and again in 2020. Delegates from Taiwan had attended the WHA as nonvoting observers from 2009 to 2016, during a period of relatively warm ties between Beijing and Taipei.
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