Taipei, May 2 (CNA) Taiwan has gained greater backing for its participation at this year's World Health Assembly (WHA), as three major medical groups have shown their support for Taiwan to attend the assembly later this month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday.
Apart from getting major countries' support, including that from the United States, Japan, Britain, France, Germany and Canada, Taiwan has also recently won support from the World Medical Association (WMA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME), MOFA said in a statement.
In a recent letter to World Health Organization (WHO) Director- General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WMA President Leonid Eidelman and Chair of Council Ardis Hoven urged the WHO to invite Taiwan to attend the upcoming WHA and related meetings in Geneva from May 20-28, according to MOFA.
For his part, EMA President Vincenzo Costigliola wrote to Tedros and the European Union's Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, called for Taiwan's participation at the WHA and stressed that health rights are universal values which should not be pegged to politics, MOFA said.
Meanwhile, the CPME also wrote to European Commission health officials and the health minister of Romania, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union from January until June 2019, calling for Taiwan to be allowed to attend the WHA -- the decision-making body of the WHO, according to MOFA.
In light of the support from these professional organizations, it was clear that Taiwan's participation at the WHA was of critical importance to global health issues, MOFA said, urging the WHO again to heed the voices in support of Taiwan and invite Taiwan to this year's WHA as soon as possible.
From 2009-2016, Taiwan took part in the WHA as an observer, due to good relations with mainland China, but the country was unable to attend the annual event in 2017 and 2018 because of opposition from China, which distrusts the current Taiwanese government and ruling party.