U.S. voices support for Taiwan's participation in WHO

01/20/2021 10:48 PM
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Image taken from twitter.com/who
Image taken from twitter.com/who

Taipei, Jan. 20 (CNA) A United States official on Tuesday expressed support for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) as an observer, during an executive board meeting of the global health body.

The support came from Garrett Grigsby, director of the U.S. Health Department's Office of Global Affairs, during a session of the 148th WHO Executive Board meeting, which is being held virtually Jan. 18-26.

Grigsby said the world would be more effective in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuilding the economy if everyone worked together and accepted all the lessons learned, according to a video posted on the WHO website.

"The U.S. highlights in this regard the important contribution Taiwan could make to this discussion, as well as other aspects of COVID-19 response, if they were allowed to participate fully as an observer to the WHO's technical work," he said.

Taiwan left the WHO in 1972 after losing its seat in the United Nations in 1971 to China.

Since then, Taiwan has not been able to attend the World Health Assembly, the WHO's policy-making body, due to objections by China, except from 2009 to 2016 when cross-Taiwan Strait relations were warmer under the then-Kuomintang government.

In a press release Wednesday, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) thanked Washington for its "strong support" of Taiwan's efforts to participate in global affairs.

"The U.S. once again spoke up for justice, which was a reflection of its long-term support for Taiwan's bid to participate in the WHO," Ou said.

She rejected what she said was a stereotypical response by China to Grigsby's statement at the WHO event, saying it was far from the truth.

The highlighting of the "one China" principle and repeated claim that Beijing has arranged for Taiwan's participation in global health affairs was designed to mislead the world, Ou said.

Only the Taiwan government, which is elected by the Taiwanese people, has the right to represent the country in the WHO, she said.

"The foreign ministry is urging the Chinese government to consider the health of all mankind responsibly and not to block Taiwan from contributing to the global efforts against COVID-19," Ou said.

(By Emerson Lim)

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