W.H.O. Renews Its Annual Ban on Taiwan Attending World Health Assembly

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (R) delivers h

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) on Monday rejected a proposal to include Taiwan in the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting, now in progress in Geneva, Switzerland.

The snub was meant to placate Communist China, which opposes any international recognition of Taiwan’s existence as a state.

Chinese state media applauded W.H.O. for once again toeing Beijing’s line by refusing to invite Taiwan as an observer for the eighth year in a row. 

The state-run Global Times on Monday applauded the W.H.O. for demonstrating an “unshakeable” commitment to the “one-China principle” and accepting that “reunification” is inevitable. The “one-China principle” is Beijing’s false claim that Taiwan’s government does not exist legitimately and that the island is a province of China.

“We urge certain countries to stop distorting and challenging UNGA [United Nations General Assembly] Resolution 2758, stop fudging and hollowing out the one-China principle, stop politicizing health issues, and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs by exploiting the Taiwan question. Using Taiwan to contain China will only end in failure,” said the Chinese Foreign Ministry, hectoring the global community for even considering a WHA invitation for Taiwan.

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758, passed in 1971, recognized the Communist regime in Beijing as the “only legitimate government of China.” China frequently points to this resolution when seeking to exclude Taiwan from U.N. activities.

In this May 11, 2007, file photo, then Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian, center, answers questions from Geneva-based journalists during a video conference where he protested the World Health Organization’s rejection of the island’s latest bid for membership, at the Presidential Palace in Taipei, Taiwan. Taiwan has called repeatedly for it to be allowed to participate in the W.H.O., from which it has been barred by China. So strong is China’s diplomatic pressure that Taiwan can no longer take part in the organization’s annual World Health Assembly, even as an observer. (AP Photo, File)

The Global Times dismissed the effort to include Taiwan in the WHA as a scurrilous plot by “the U.S. and a few other Western countries” to undermine the “one-China principle.”

“This is a very dangerous and destructive move, and is an attempt to cause more division and confrontation at the security, economic, and social levels in the international community, which will surely be opposed by all political forces and countries that love peace and prosperity,” the Communist newspaper lectured.

China’s influence over the W.H.O. is all the more bizarre because of the Communist Party’s lying to W.H.O. and other worldwide agencies at every turn of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, while Taiwan mounted one of the more effective responses to the pandemic. Taiwanese health officials lamented that political interference from Beijing prevented the W.H.O. from considering the far more accurate data they provided or heeding their warnings about the dangers of the coronavirus.

Taiwanese Health Minister Chiu Tai-yuan turned up in Geneva on Friday with a delegation of health experts and legislators, holding press conferences to denounce the injustice of excluding Taiwan from the WHA meeting.

“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 on Monday.

Chiu argued that neither China’s oft-cited UNGA Resolution 2758 nor W.H.O. rules preclude Taiwan from participating in the WHA as an observer.

“China has no right to interfere with or restrict Taiwan’s participation,” he said, although China appears to have done exactly that for the eighth year in a row.

Speaking at a health forum in Taipei on Monday, freshly-inaugurated Vice President Hsiao Bi-khim argued there was no logical or legal reason to exclude Taiwan from the WHA, especially since the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic taught the world that “no one should be left behind.”

The WHA snub of Taiwan was another diplomatic defeat for the Biden administration, which strongly urged the W.H.O. to restore Taiwan’s observer status, a role Taiwan held from 2009 to 2016 without any great difficulties. 

What changed after 2016 was Taiwan electing President Tsai Ing-wen, who was rabidly denounced by Beijing as a “separatist,” which is also how the Communist tyranny views her successor William Lai Ching-te. China embarked on a campaign to diplomatically isolate Taiwan in every way possible, including using its influence at the W.H.O. to block Taiwan’s observer status, in clear contravention of medical ethics and scientific principle.

“Taiwan’s exceptional capabilities and approaches offer considerable value to inform the WHA’s deliberations.  Time and again, Taiwan has demonstrated a capability and willingness to help address global health crises and support the global health community,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated on May 1.

“Taiwan’s continued exclusion from this preeminent global health forum undermines inclusive global public health cooperation and security, which the world demands – and urgently needs,” Blinken contended.


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