EU parliamentary friendship group backs Taiwan's WHO bid

02/08/2020 12:59 PM
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Brussels, Feb. 7 (CNA) A pro-Taiwan group in the European Parliament (EP) on Thursday expressed support for Taiwan's bid to join the World Health Organization (WHO), amid mounting concerns over the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak which is spreading rapidly around the world.

In a joint letter addressed to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the EP-Taiwan Friendship Group called on the global health governing body to facilitate Taiwan's participation as an observer in the WHO so as to "collectively fight against the devastating epidemic."

"Taiwan, with its proximity to China and intensive people-to-people contact between both sides, bears the brunt of this epidemic," the group wrote.

The letter described how Taiwanese experts were excluded from the WHO Emergency Committee discussions held recently in Geneva, making Taiwan the only country with confirmed cases excluded from the meetings.

The EU friendship group also noted how a misleading report by the WHO on the 2019-nCoV, which listed Taipei as part of China, has led to confusion; some countries banned flights to and from Taiwan as a result.

"This has created serious problems for Taiwan and is not helpful for the epidemic control and international disease prevention," it said.

The group urged the WHO to recognize that Taiwan is not under China's jurisdiction, and that it administers its own health affairs, separately and independent from China.

It asked the health organization to correct the inaccurate listing of Taiwan under China in WHO's report to avoid further confusion by other countries.

The letter was signed by Michael Gahler, chairman of the EP- Taiwan Friendship Group, and its members Ivan Stefanec, Kosma Zlotowski, Anna Fotyga, Katalin Cseh, Christophe Hansen, Michaela Sojdrova, and Jens Gieseke.

(By Tang Pei-chun and Ko Lin)

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