European parliamentarians call for Taiwan's participation in WHA
Taipei, Nov. 5 (CNA) More than 600 European parliamentarians expressed their support for Taiwan's bid to attend the World Health Assembly (WHA) in a joint letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) and relevant officials, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday.
The letter was initiated by the Formosa Club, which brings together Taiwan Friendship Groups from the European Parliament (EP), United Kingdom, Germany and France, MOFA said.
Among those who signed the letter were Czech Senate President Miloš Vystrčil, EP's Vice Presidents Nicola Beer, Heidi Hautala and Fabio Massimo Castaldo, and Deputy Speaker Lord Rogan from the U.K.'s House of Lords.
A total of 644 parliamentarians from 25 European countries, including Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden and Belgium, signed the joint letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus, MOFA said.
A copy of the letter was also sent to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, and Josep Borrell, high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, MOFA said.
The European parliamentarians lamented Taiwan's continued exclusion from participating fully in the mechanisms, meetings and activities of the WHO after almost a year since the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the letter.
"Just as you said in a press conference in August, 'No one is safe until everyone is safe,' we therefore should not leave Taiwan behind, especially while each and every one of us is grappling with a second wave of infections," the letter said.
MOFA said it was thankful for the show of support from the international community for Taiwan's participation in the WHA, a gathering of delegates from WHO member states that discusses the organization's priorities, leadership, and budget.
This year's WHA is set to resume virtually from Nov. 9-14, after it met briefly in May with an abridged agenda.
Taiwan, formally called the Republic of China, was expelled from the WHO in 1972 after losing its seat in the United Nations due to the issue of "China's representation."
Since then, Taiwan has not been able to attend the WHA due to the objections of the People's Republic of China, except for 2009-2016, when cross-Taiwan Strait relations were warmer under the then Kuomintang government.
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