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《TAIPEI TIMES》 Minister urges WHO to include Taiwan in WHA


Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Tai-yuan speaks at an international news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sunday.
Photo: screen grab from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s Facebook page

Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Tai-yuan speaks at an international news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sunday. Photo: screen grab from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s Facebook page

2024/05/28 03:00

By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter

Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Tai-yuan (邱泰源) yesterday again called for the international community’s support as he urged the WHO to let Taiwan participate as an observer in the World Health Assembly (WHA).

The annual meeting of the WHA, the decisionmaking body of the WHO, began in Geneva, Switzerland, yesterday and ends on Saturday.

As Taiwan has not been invited to attend the WHA as an observer for the eighth year in a row, a delegation of health officials and experts led by Chiu arrived in Geneva on Friday to speak up for Taiwan and take part in bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the WHA.

Joined by four legislators from across party lines, Chiu held an international news conference at the Geneva Press Club to speak about “How Taiwan’s participation in the WHO can contribute to a comprehensive global health network.”

“We are calling for the international community’s support and urging the WHO to act in line with this year’s WHA theme — ‘All for Health, Health for All’ — by including Taiwan in the proceedings of the WHA as an observer, and allowing Taiwan’s regular participation in WHO meetings, activities and mechanisms,” Chiu said in his opening remarks.

Taiwan supports actions that can save lives — promoting health and well-being, advancing primary healthcare, ensuring universal health coverage and meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but the WHO continues to exclude Taiwan for political reasons, he said.

“I would like to reaffirm that neither UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 nor WHA Resolution 25.1 mentioned Taiwan or provide legal authorization for the People’s Republic of China [PRC] to represent Taiwan in the UN system,” he said.

“Precluding Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the WHO based on these resolutions cannot be justified,” Chiu said.

“Neither the Republic of China [Taiwan] nor the PRC is subordinate to the other,” he said, adding that that is “the status quo across the Taiwan Strait and an internationally recognized objective fact.”

“China has no right to interfere with or restrict Taiwan’s participation,” he said, stressing that only the democratically elected government of Taiwan can represent its 23 million people in the WHO and other international forums.

“We sincerely appreciate the support extended by diplomatic allies and like-minded countries for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the WHO,” he added.

Taiwan, being a force for good, has the capability and willingness to contribute to global health and well-being, and the whole world would benefit from its inclusion to the WHO and WHA, Chiu said.

Asked what name Taiwan would use to join the WHO, Chiu said. “Taiwan is Taiwan, and our country name is the Republic of China (ROC), so using ‘Taiwan’ or ‘ROC’ for joining the WHO or the WHA is what we will insist.”

Asked if Taiwan would find alternative ways to join the WHO or the WHA, aside from winning support from diplomatic allies and like-minded countries, Chiu said that, in the past few decades, Taiwan has educated and trained many outstanding healthcare professionals, and they have not only elevated the quality of domestic healthcare, but also participated in many international organizations.

Many Taiwanese healthcare professionals also play important roles in international organizations, such as the Taiwan Medical Association, which helped draft the World Medical Association’s statement on health emergency responses, he said, adding that Taiwan has more than 100 professional healthcare groups and their efforts would be the foundation of Taiwan’s successful WHO and WHA bid.

Many Taiwanese healthcare professionals are getting further education or training in other countries and building friendships with local professionals, who might eventually also hold key positions in world organizations, so the government would continue to provide more resources to professional healthcare associations to encourage international participation, he said.

新聞來源:TAIPEI TIMES


WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends the World Health Assembly at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, yesterday.
Photo: Reuters

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends the World Health Assembly at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland, yesterday. Photo: Reuters

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