Asia - Pacific

China chides Taiwan for pursuing WHO status

Despite no invite, Taiwan to have delegation in Geneva during World Health Assembly, Beijing warns of 'humiliation'

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 09.05.2022
China chides Taiwan for pursuing WHO status

ISTANBUL

China on Monday pushed back against Taiwan’s ongoing efforts to participate in a major World Health Organization meeting scheduled for this month.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Beijing “cannot agree with the Taiwan region’s participation” in this year’s meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the top decision-making body of the WHO.

He warned Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) “to stop exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to engage in political manipulation.”

“Otherwise, it will only invite humiliation to itself,” Zhao said at a news briefing in Beijing.

China considers Taiwan a “breakaway province” and its objections have led to Taipei’s exclusion from various international organizations over the years.

Taipei, however, has been insisting that it is an independent nation since 1949, and currently has at least 14 full diplomatic allies.

Zhao accused the DPP of “obstinately” adhering to a “separatist position,” saying “the political foundation for the Taiwan region to participate in the WHA has ceased to exist” because of the ruling party’s actions.

He asserted that Beijing opposes Taiwan’s inclusion “in order to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity and uphold the solemnity and authority of relevant UNGA and WHA resolutions.”

His remarks came after Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told lawmakers that the Taiwanese government is “still waiting” for an invite to the 75th WHA, which will be held in Geneva from May 22 to 28.

He said “more and more countries” are supporting Taipei’s efforts to regain its seat in the WHA, which Taiwan attended as an observer from 2009 to 2016 when relations between Beijing and Taipei were warmer, local news outlet Focus Taiwan reported.

Regardless of whether Taiwan gets the invite, Deputy Health Minister Lee Li-feng and other government officials “will still travel to Geneva to share Taiwan’s healthcare experience on the sidelines of the annual WHA, as has been done in the past,” Wu was quoted as saying.

Last month, the US House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation calling for a State Department plan to help Taiwan reclaim its observer status.

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