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Paraguay speaks in support of Taiwan as WHA observer

2019/05/21 22:43:33

CNA file photo

Geneva, May 21 (CNA) Paraguay spoke up for Taiwan Tuesday during the second day of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), in support of the nation's participation in the annual meeting.

During the third plenary meeting of the 72nd WHA in Geneva, Switzerland, Julio Mazzoleni, Paraguay's minister of health, stressed the importance of international cooperation and Taiwan attending the WHA as an observer, which he said would help the WHO achieve its goals more efficiently.

Julio Mazzoleni, Paraguay's minister of health / Image taken from WHO website

"We think that questions relating to global health cannot be dealt with simply on the basis of political concerns. We believe therefore the participation of Taiwan as an observer here is essential to help us achieve the goals of this organization," Mazzoleni said.

Taiwan's absence puts obstacles in the way for it to exchange relevant information with other countries and undermines the constructive spirit of cooperation in the international community, he said, adding that the country's exclusion will not help the WHO objectives of guiding and promoting world health.

Meanwhile, Masayoshi Shintani, Japan's parliamentary vice-minister of health, labor and welfare, said regions should not be left out and denied the right to participate even as observers.

Masayoshi Shintani, Japan's parliamentary vice-minister of health, labor and welfare / Image taken from WHO website

"We believe that we should not make geographical blank spaces by creating a situation where a specific region can not join the WHA, even as an observer," he said.

This year, Beijing blocked the WHO from inviting Taiwan to the WHA for the third year in a row, after the country attended the gathering as an observer from 2009-2016.

Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations and therefore cannot directly participate in U.N.-affiliated organizations, such as the WHO.

As a result, its participation in those organizations is often subject to the agreement of Beijing, which claims to represent Taiwan in those bodies, despite never having had jurisdiction over the territory of Taiwan.

The 72nd WHA is being held from May 20 to 28.

(By Tang Pei-chun, Tai Ya-chen, and William Yen)
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