Taiwan's legislature asks WHO to listen to 'voices of justice'

02/21/2020 09:12 PM
CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 21 (CNA) Taiwanese legislators from across the political spectrum urged the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday to listen to "voices of justice" from the international community and let Taiwan participate in efforts to control the coronavirus epidemic.

In a statement issued as the Legislature opened a new session, lawmakers said Taiwan is a health care provider on the international stage, and incorporating Taiwan into the epidemic prevention system would help more countries and make the WHO more effective.

The statement said many countries spoke up for Taiwan during the WHO's 146th executive board meeting held Feb. 3-8 in Geneva, and urged the WHO to "listen to the voices of justice" from the international community and accept Taiwan through appropriate means.

Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations and has been blocked from participating in U.N.-affiliated organizations such as the WHO primarily due to the opposition of China.

The legislators also expressed support for Taiwan to participate in the United Nations specialized agency.

"At this critical time when the world is fighting the coronavirus outbreak, the Legislative Yuan strongly supports the ongoing efforts by the government to participate in the WHO," the statement said.

The legislators urged the government to consolidate support from diplomatic allies and like-minded countries to push for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA) as well as all disease-related sessions and mechanisms within the WHO framework.

The statement stressed that the WHO, under its vision of a world in which all peoples attain the highest possible level of health, should not leave the Taiwanese people behind due to political considerations.

"This legislature strongly condemns mainland China for its pressures to block Taiwan from participating in the WHO and the WHA. We urge the WHO to look squarely at its data and remove Taiwan from the Chinese epidemic area," the statement said.

As Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, it is treated as a part of China in U.N. organizations, and its counts of coronavirus cases have been included in the total for China in WHO statistics.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said Taiwan has controlled the coronavirus outbreak more effectively than such neighboring countries as South Korea, Japan and Singapore despite its proximity to China, the origin of the virus.

But despite that, Taiwan should not be excluded from the worldwide epidemic prevention network, Su said at the same legislative session while delivering his policy address.

He blasted China for blocking Taiwan's participation in WHO and harassing Taiwan through military aircraft circling the island.

"Such maneuvers will only disturb regional peace and increase the negative feelings of Taiwanese people toward China," Su said.

As of Friday, Taiwan has recorded 26 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

(By Emerson Lim)


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