Australia added its voice Friday in support of Taiwan’s bid to rejoin the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) in a move likely to further inflame tensions between Canberra and Beijing.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian ministry spokesman said the global coronavirus pandemic needed a global response, and there should be a close working relationship between the W.H.O. and all “health authorities,” including Taiwan.
The island nation should be able to participate as an observer or a guest, the spokesman added.
Later in May, the W.H.O. will hold its key annual meeting, the World Health Assembly (W.H.A.). Due to the epidemic, it is expected to take the shape of a three-hour video conference rather than the usual full-blown meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s call for an independent international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus has already met with a frosty response from the Communist Party of China and the latest move will do nothing to ease that tension – not that the Australians seem concerned.
China Warns Australia: Drop Coronavirus Probe or Pay an Economic Price https://t.co/V54exGJuOT
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 27, 2020
Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has been ramping up efforts to internationally isolate it since the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party took power in 2016.
Four years ago China effectively blocked Taipei from participating as an observer in the World Health Assembly, the W.H.O.’s decision-making body.
Despite that rebuff, the government of Taiwan attempted to warn the U.N.-led W.H.O. of the deadly potential of the Wuhan coronavirus in December 2019, but the W.H.O. failed to share Taiwan’s findings on the virus with the world, the country’s U.S. office confirmed to Breitbart News last month.