New Zealand on Thursday joined a push by the U.S. and Australia to return Taiwan to the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) sparking a furious response from Communist China.
NZ Foreign Minister Winston Peters (pictured) made the announcement and called Taiwan the “standout world success story on COVID-19,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Our position is to join a number of countries in seeking to get them put back on the WHO as an observer, when they were in 2016,” he said.
“They have got something to teach the rest of the world, and every country including China must surely want to know the secret of the success.”
Taiwan has been a global success in its fight against the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, enacting a plan that has kept the population of 24 million to just 439 cases and six deaths.
China forced Taiwan out of the global body in 2016 after the election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who China views as a separatist, as Breitbart news reported.
It has blocked every effort since for Taiwan to regain even observer status at W.H.O.’s annual policy meetings, insisting Taiwan should not receive any considerations or honors that would be afforded to a full nation-state.
Taiwan’s exclusion from W.H.O. membership has understandably infuriated Taipei, which says its absence has created a glaring gap in the global fight against the coronavirus.
Meanwhile trans-Tasman neighbor Australia is pushing ahead with its call to have Taiwan return to the W.H.O. fold at the same time it is challenging China over its poor coronavirus response, as Breitbart News reported.
China Warns Australia: Drop Coronavirus Probe or Pay an Economic Price https://t.co/V54exGJuOT
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 27, 2020
Last Friday 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.
For its part, China issued an immediate slap-down for New Zealand as news broke of its backing for the U.S. and Australia against the Chinese Communist Party.
China’s Ambassador in Wellington, Wu Xi, wrote to Jacinda Ardern’s government in an attempt to curtail Kiwi support, the Herald reports.
“There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is a part of China,” Wu said. “The world is at a critical stage in fighting against the pandemic.
“However, the Democratic Progressive Party authority in Taiwan region has been making reckless political maneuvers and trying to hype up Taiwan’s participation in the W.H.O. and the World Health Assembly.
“Their real intention is to seek ‘independence’ by making use of the pandemic. We are firmly opposed to that.”