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Taiwan will continue its contribution to global health: Tsai

2017/05/12 21:44:15

Taipei, May 12 (CNA) Taiwan is part of a global health community and it will continue to contribute its expertise and experiences with the international community, despite being kept out of the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Friday.

In an event to celebrate this year's International Nurses Day in Taipei, Tsai thanked the nation's medical staff for their services in the field and for safeguarding Taiwan's health and welfare.

At a time when Taiwan has been excluded from the World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting scheduled to be held later this month in Geneva, Tsai said the island has a lot to contribute to the global health community and therefore health issues should not be politicized.

Taiwan had been hoping to attend the WHA meeting as an observer, as it had been doing since 2009, but did not receive an invitation this year. The exclusion is widely seen as the latest move by China to clamp down on Taiwan's international participation.

In an earlier report by international news outlet FOX News, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it did not plan to invite a delegation from Taiwan to attend its upcoming annual assembly.

Commenting on the report, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) expressed his disappointment at Taiwan's exclusion from the annual WHA, saying that excluding the island was the "world's loss" since Taiwan has made great strides in disease prevention over the years.

However, he said, Taiwan will not give up on its bid to attend the annual meeting even though it did not receive an invitation to the conference by the Monday deadline for online registration.

He added that a delegation will nonetheless travel to Geneva and interact with other delegations at and around the conference to make their voices heard.

Meanwhile, in a separate report, World Health Organization (WHO) official Tim Armstrong was quoted by The Associated Press on Friday as saying that "negotiations are still ongoing" and that "anything is possible."

(By Chang Min-hsuen, Tang Pei-chun, Huang Hsu-shen and Ko Lin)