U.S. State Department calls for Taiwan's inclusion in WHA

05/01/2021 04:30 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Washington, April 30 (CNA) The U.S. State Department has called for Taiwan to be allowed to participate in the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA), citing Taiwan's successful efforts against COVID-19 and it assistance to other countries during the pandemic.

"Taiwan's outstanding control of COVID-19 and its donations of PPE demonstrate its strong contribution to global health," State Department spokesman Ned Price tweeted Friday.

"Taiwan has some of the world's leading experts in combating this disease, and we need to hear from Taiwan at the World Health Assembly," he added.

The WHA, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), is scheduled to hold its 74th annual meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24-June 1.

It is widely thought that Taiwan will not be invited to the event, due to the objections of China, which views Taiwan as a part of its territory.

In light of the situation, global powers, including the European Union and Japan, have recently issued statements in support of Taiwan's inclusion in the meeting.

On Friday, the World Medical Association, a group representing more than 100 national medical associations, sent a letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urging that Taiwan be granted observer status in the organization.

Meanwhile, the Legislature of the U.S. Pacific island of Guam unanimously passed a resolution calling for Taiwan's inclusion in the assembly and expressing thanks for face masks donations and other medical assistance the island has received from Taiwan.

As of Thursday, some 250 lawmakers and senior government officials from more than 50 countries had expressed support for Taiwan's participation in the WHA, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In the U.S., senators Ed Markey and Mitt Romney and representatives Ami Bera and Steve Chabot all recently released video statements as part of a global hashtag campaign to #LetTaiwanHelp.

Romney, a Republican, said Tuesday that Taiwan's participation in the meeting was a matter of "critical" importance, as its exclusion would benefit China in its efforts to "strategically isolate Taiwan from the global community."

Markey, a Democrat, warned that the WHO's "one-China" policy "must not be used as a bludgeon to shut out Taipei from saving lives and economies from disease."

Taiwan, officially called the Republic of China, was expelled from the WHO in 1972 after losing its seat in the United Nations when the U.N. switched recognition to the People's Republic of China.

Taiwan participated in WHA events as an observer from 2009 to 2016 under the designation "Chinese Taipei," when relations between Beijing and Taipei were warmer under the Kuomintang administration at that time.

Since 2017, however, Taiwan has been excluded from the WHA due to opposition from China, which has taken a hard line against President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) because of its advocacy of Taiwan's sovereignty as an independent state.

(By Chung Yu-chen, Su Lung-chih and Matthew Mazzetta)


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