G7 communique supports Taiwan's WHA bid, cross-strait resolution

05/06/2021 11:56 AM
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Photo taken from twitter.com/G7
Photo taken from twitter.com/G7

London, May 5 (CNA) Foreign ministers from the G7 group of wealthy countries on Wednesday expressed support for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA) and called for peaceful resolution of the cross-Taiwan Strait issue.

In a communique released following three days of the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers' Meeting in London, ministers from the U.K., U.S., Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and the EU said they support "Taiwan's meaningful participation in World Health Organization (WHO) forums and the World Health Assembly (WHA)."

"The international community should be able to benefit from the experience of all partners, including Taiwan's successful contribution to the tackling of the COVID-19 pandemic," the communique said.

This is the first time a G7 communique has mentioned Taiwan, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

The communique also expressed concern over the ongoing cross- strait tension.

"We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues," it said.

"We reiterate our strong opposition to any unilateral actions that could escalate tensions and undermine regional stability and the international rules-based order, and express serious concerns about reports of militarization, coercion and intimidation in the region," it added.

G7 is an intergovernmental organization comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.

The heads of government of the member states, as well as representatives of the European Union, meet at the annual G7 Summit.

In response, Taiwan's foreign ministry expressed gratitude toward the G7 members in supporting the country's inclusion in the annual WHA.

"This marks the first time G7 foreign ministers have specifically mentioned Taiwan in its communiques -- concerning Taiwan's success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic -- and have supported Taiwan's participation in international organizations," according to a MOFA press release.

The support is significant, especially as it came before the holding of this year's WHA in Geneva, it said.

The communique, which expresses concern over Beijing's coercion toward Taipei, also shows that the international community is paying close attention to such military intimidation, it added.

Since being expelled from the WHO in 1972 after the People's Republic of China took its seat, the Republic of China (Taiwan) has not been able to participate in the WHA, except for 2009-2016, when it attended as an observer at a time when cross-strait relations were warmer under the then-Kuomintang government.

Since 2017, however, China has pressured 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.

This year, the 74th WHA is scheduled to take place from May 24 to June 1.

The group also condemned China in its communique over "the targeting of Uyghurs, members of other ethnic and religious minority groups and the existence of a large-scale network of 'political re-education' camps, and reports of forced labor systems and forced sterilization."

The communique called on China to "respect human rights and fundamental freedoms."

The G7 ministers also said they remain "gravely concerned by China's decision fundamentally to erode democratic elements of the electoral system in Hong Kong."

(By Tai Ya-chen and Joseph Yeh)

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