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《TAIPEI TIMES》 Taiwan excluded at WHA, but allies speak up


Delegates attend the opening day of the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday.
Photo: AFP

Delegates attend the opening day of the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday. Photo: AFP

2024/05/29 03:00

By Liu Tzu-hsuan / Staff reporter

Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and other countries spoke up for the nation on the first day of the World Health Assembly (WHA), which decided not to include a motion on Taiwan’s inclusion on its agenda.

Eleven of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies that are WHO member states proposed a supplementary agenda item calling on the WHA to invite Taiwan to participate in the assembly as an observer.

During a debate on Monday on whether to include the item in the WHA’s agenda, Belizean Minister of Health Kevin Bernard said that excluding Taiwan from WHO activities due to political pressure from China is unjust.

“Taiwan’s expertise and resources can significantly enhance global health outcomes benefiting all nations,” Bernard said.

For the WHO to realize its objective of “health for all,” it must invite Taiwan to participate in the WHA, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment St Clair Prince said.

The health ministers of the Marshall Islands and Saint Lucia also praised Taiwan as a responsible partner that can make important contributions to the world, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Meanwhile, representatives from Pakistan and Cuba cited China’s “one China principle” and its misinterpretation of UN Resolution 2758 to oppose the proposal.

The ministry expressed “deep regret and dissatisfaction” that the WHA decided against including the item in its agenda.

Resolution 2758 was adopted by the 26th UN General Assembly in 1971 to solve the issue of China’s representation in the UN system.

The resolution does not state that Taiwan is part of the People’s Republic of China and does not authorize Beijing to represent Taiwan in the UN system, the ministry’s Department of International Organizations Deputy Director-General Greg Lee (李冠德) told a regular news briefing yesterday.

The “one China principle” espoused by China is by no means the universal consensus and practice of the international community, he said, adding that Beijing ignores the health rights of the people of Taiwan and the world.

Meanwhile, the ministry thanked the representatives of France, the UK, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands and the EU for voicing support for Taiwan during their respective addresses at the WHA’s plenary meeting.

France is “in favor of the participation of Taiwan in the works of this assembly,” French Minister Delegate in Charge of Health and Prevention Frederic Valletoux said.

The UK believes “Taiwan should once again become an observer to this assembly, and to be granted meaningful access to all relevant technical meetings, as was the case until 2016,” British Minister of Health Nick Markham said.

“We all need to stand together using everyone’s expertise, including Taiwan’s, to master the challenges ahead of us,” German Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach said.

Canberra underlined the importance of “working with all partners, including Taiwan” as health is a human right shared by all, Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler said.

Officials from Belgium, which holds the Council of the EU presidency, and the Netherlands also called for inclusion in the WHA, showing support for Taiwan even though they did not mention Taiwan by name, Lee said.

The ministry urged the WHO to adhere to the principles of professionalism and neutrality, as well as the objective of the WHO Charter, Lee said, adding that the call for Taiwan’s participation in the WHO and WHA should be taken seriously and China’s obstruction due to political reasons should be resolutely rejected.

Taiwan should be included in the WHA as an observer as soon as possible and allowed to participate in all WHO meetings, mechanisms and activities on a regular basis, he said.

Additional reporting by CNA

新聞來源:TAIPEI TIMES

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