U.K. minister of state voices support for Taiwan's WHO bid

02/13/2020 04:16 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 13 (CNA) Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the United Kingdom's Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations, has expressed support for Taiwan's participation in international organizations, the British Office Taipei said in a statement released Wednesday.

"We support Taiwan's participation in international organizations where statehood is not a prerequisite, and Taiwan can make a valuable contribution," Lord Ahmad was quoted as saying.

He made the statement in the House of Lords Feb. 10, said the office, the U.K.'s de facto embassy in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic relations between London and Taipei.

"We remain very clear, with our like-minded partners, that Taiwan's contribution to those organizations is important and that it has a vital role to play," Lord Ahmad said, commenting on Taiwan's efforts to participate in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the World Health Organizations (WHO).

Meanwhile, Lord Rogan and Lord Steel, co-chair and honorary chair of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), respectively, wrote to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Feb. 6, urging him to allow Taiwan's participation.

The letter said that Taiwan is not under China's jurisdiction and that healthcare in Taiwan and China are administered by separate and independent authorities.

Taiwan is not a member of the U.N. and has been blocked from participating in U.N.-affiliated organizations such as the ICAO and WHO, primarily because of opposition from China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory.

Support for Taiwan's participation in the two U.N. specialized agencies, especially the WHO, have been strong recently in the international community due to the spread of the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) worldwide.

The United States, Japan and Australia, as well as the European Union, voiced support for Taiwan in a just-concluded WHO executive board meeting.

(By Emerson Lim and Tai Ya-chen)


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