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Delegation to promote Taiwan's WHA bid to depart for Geneva

2017/05/19 17:30:50

Tsai Ming-hsien (蔡明憲, center)

Taipei, May 19 (CNA) A delegation comprised of civic group members will depart Taipei for Geneva Friday to promote Taiwan's bid to take part in the World Health Assembly (WHA).

The WHA, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), is scheduled to take place in Geneva May 22-31. Taiwan did not receive an invitation to attend this year's meeting due to obstruction by China.

Tsai Ming-hsien (蔡明憲), leader of the 20-odd-member delegation, said the group is the biggest to be sent in nine years.

In addition to those leaving from Taiwan, there are nearly 30 Taiwanese expatriates in Europe who will join them in Geneva to let the world see Taiwan, Tsai said.

Tseng Tsung-kai (曾琮愷), spokesman of the delegation, said the group will carry 2,000 copies of promotional material in four languages -- Chinese, English, German and French -- to be distributed near the venue of the annual conference in Geneva.

The promotional material will stress that Taiwan is an advanced democracy. Among the world's top 200 hospitals, 14 are in Taiwan. Among the 23 million people in Taiwan, 84.8 percent said Taiwan should join the United Nations and 76.6 percent support Taiwan's participation in the WHO.

The promotional material will say that Taiwan's democracy, freedom and human rights should not be ignored.

Another group led by Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), minister of Health and Welfare, will depart for Geneva May 20.

Chen's group will protest Taiwan's exclusion from the WHA and will try to hold bilateral talks with representatives of participating countries and attend technical meetings at the WHA.

Taiwan first attended the WHA as an observer in 2009, a year after the government of former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) came to power and pursued a more conciliatory policy toward Beijing.

Taiwan had taken part in every WHA meeting since then, until this year.

Its exclusion is widely seen as the latest move by China to clamp down on Taiwan's international participation, a strategy that has become more aggressive since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party, who is less conciliatory toward China, came to power in May 2016.

(By Chang Ming-hsuan and Lilian Wu)
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