Japan voices support for Taiwan's attendance as WHA observer

05/11/2020 05:12 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, May 11 (CNA) Japan on Monday voiced support for Taiwan's inclusion in the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO).

"Our country will continue its strong support for Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer," the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association (JTEA), which represents Japan's interests in Taiwan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic ties, said in a Facebook post.

JTEA added that Taiwan has done a remarkable job in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease, and as such Taipei's participation at the WHA would allow other countries to learn from its experience.

There should be no geographic gaps in terms of disease prevention, the association said.

In the post, the JTEA also shared a video made by Taiwanese Youtuber Ray Du (阿滴), who, along with graphic designer Aaron Nieh (聶永真), launched the crowdfunding campaign for the "Taiwan can Help" ad published in the New York Times on April 14.

The video is an open letter addressed to the WHO and emphasizes the importance of Taiwan's inclusion in the organization.

According to a report in the Canadian Press on Saturday, Japan was one of the countries that called for Taiwan to receive observer status at the WHA during a recent meeting with senior WHO executives.

Ambassadors from Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom jointly advocated for Taiwan to be admitted as an observer at the upcoming WHA, the report said, citing a senior Canadian government official.

The WHA is scheduled to hold its 73rd session from May 18-19 virtually, due to travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

From 2009-2016, Taiwan participated in the WHA as an observer under the name Chinese Taipei, amid better relations with China during the then-Kuomintang administration.

Since 2017, however, China has persuaded the WHO not to invite Taiwan, in line with Beijing's hardline stance on cross-strait relations since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016.

(By Chiang Yi-ching)

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