The World Health Organization’s annual meeting on Monday refused to discuss admitting Taiwan to the meeting, despite pressure from China and fan requests from several countries.
Taiwan has been barred from joining the rally in recent years by China, which sees the island as a rebel province seeking to reunite with the mainland.
There have been growing calls for Taiwan to be allowed as an observer, especially after highlighting the importance of global cooperation against the Kovid-19 epidemic.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said last week, “While we continue to fight COVID-19 and other emerging health threats, Taiwan’s isolation from the pre-World Health Forum undermines unreasonable and inclusive global public health cooperation.”
At the beginning of the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA), delegates from 13 of the 194 member countries of the WHO, including Belize, Swatini, Haiti and Tuvalu, proposed that Taiwan be given permanent observer status on the agenda.
Pointing to the Kovid-19 epidemic, the text warns that “Taiwan’s continued exclusion from the World Health Organization (WHO) has seriously compromised WHO’s overall disease prevention efforts, undermined the interests of its members and endangered world health.”
It also highlights Taiwan’s “exceptional” response to the COVID-19 crisis: more than 1,300 people have died on the island of more than 23 million people since the epidemic began.
“Taiwan’s medical care and public health care system is one of the best in the world, making Taiwan an ideal model for consideration by many WHO member states,” the text said, stressing that the world community would benefit by including Taiwan.
A WHA committee discussed the issue behind closed doors on Sunday and proposed removing the issue from the agenda at a full assembly on Monday morning.
After each side asked the two countries to present their positions, the assembly agreed that the issue should not be included in the agenda.
The proposal was “political maneuvering,” Chinese Ambassador Chen Xu told the gathering.
“Taiwan’s participation in the WHA is a health issue, not a political one,” Swatini’s representative pushed back.
Taiwan was expelled from the WHO in 1972, a year after the United Nations lost its “China” seat to the People’s Republic of China.
When relations with China were warm between 2009 and 2016, it was allowed to attend the WHO summit as an observer.
Since President Xi Jinping came to power, Beijing has stepped up its campaign to pressure Taipei, as it has refused to acknowledge its position as part of self-governing democratic Taiwan China.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)