World Health Assembly Begins Without the World’s Top Coronavirus Fighter, Taiwan

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen speaks during National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Palace in Taipei on October 10, 2019. - President Tsai Ing-wen pledged October 10 to defend Taiwan's sovereignty, calling it the "overwhelming consensus" among Taiwanese people to reject a model that Beijing has used to rule …
SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Assembly (W.H.A.), governing body of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), convened via teleconferencing on Monday to discuss the global coronavirus pandemic.

The country that unleashed the pandemic through its dishonesty and corruption, Communist China, was present while the country that did the best job fighting the pandemic, Taiwan, was absent.

China forced Taiwan out of observer status at the W.H.O. in 2016 after the election of anti-communist President Tsai Ing-wen and is stubbornly blocking its return to even that limited degree of participation for purely political reasons while thousands die around the world from the Wuhan virus.

Taiwan announced on Monday that it has temporarily withdrawn its request to regain observer status, because it does not want a political battle to distract W.H.A. members from working on solutions to the pandemic.

“Due to Covid-19, the agenda for this year’s WHA has been significantly shortened. Understandably, countries want to use the limited time available to concentrate on ways of containing the pandemic,” said Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.

“For this reason, like-minded nations and diplomatic allies have suggested that the proposal be taken up later this year when meetings will be conducted normally, to make sure there will be full and open discussion. After careful deliberation, we have accepted the suggestion from our allies and like-minded nations to wait until the resumed session before further promoting our bid,” Wu said.

In addition to working on a vaccine and sharing its expertise in controlling the pandemic, Taiwan has donated millions of protective masks and thousands of pieces of diagnostic equipment to other countries. Wu said about 25 million more masks, hundreds of thousands of protective gowns, and other equipment will soon be donated.

A growing number of world leaders have joined the United States in calling for Taiwan to return to the W.H.O., including Canada, Australia, Japan, and every member of the European Union. According to the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry, as of Monday, 29 world governments have formally expressed support for Taiwan to rejoin W.H.O., while hundreds of lawmakers and officials from 43 countries have individually given their support to the effort.

“Given what the world has endured as a result of COVID-19, U.N. member states joining together to insist Taiwan be invited to the upcoming virtual W.H.A. session in May 2020 is the right place to start,” said a bipartisan letter from the U.S. Congress to about 60 other countries sent last week.

“Taiwan’s isolation from the global health community not only presents a serious public health concern, but also is an obstacle that hampers ongoing and future efforts,” the letter said.

According to the World Health Organization’s legal counsel, there are “divergent views among member states” over Taiwan, so there was “no mandate” for the W.H.O. director to invite Taiwanese representatives into the W.H.A. meeting. In other words, China still has enough political clout to keep Taiwan out, a reality U.S. policymakers will doubtless consider carefully when deciding whether or not to resume funding the W.H.O.

Although Taiwan temporarily set aside its request to attend the W.H.A. so as not to distract its members with a political struggle, Foreign Minister Wu expressed his country’s continuing dissatisfaction with how the assembly has “yielded to pressure from the Chinese government and continues to disregard the right to health of the 23 million people of Taiwan.”

The regime in Beijing remorselessly continues to block Taiwanese participation, despite the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) incessant claims to be concerned about world health above all other things, because the CCP cannot tolerate Taiwan holding any membership position that would grant it legitimacy as an independent nation-state. During the seven years when Taiwan had observer status in W.H.O., it was obliged to refer to itself as “Chinese Taipei.”

The CCP restated its callous position last week as calls for Taiwan’s inclusion in the World Health Assembly grew, explicitly laying out its purely political reasons for blocking Taiwanese membership.

Chinese Communist propaganda denounced the effort to restore Taiwan’s membership as an “evil” stunt by “anti-China forces in Washington” to use the pandemic as an excuse to endorse the pro-independence stance of Taiwanese President Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP):

In short, the DPP has hatched a political conspiracy to take advantage of the pandemic to seek “Taiwan independence”. And this conspiracy is being strongly backed by anti-China forces in Washington. In fact, some US officials and congressmen have been pressuring the WHO to allow the island to attend the WHA meeting unconditionally.

That the United States is trying to incite the international community against the WHO and Beijing is evident from the fact that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has personally urged countries around the world to back Taiwan’s unreasonable demand and has been pressuring WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite the island to attend the WHA. From the US Congress and US ambassador to the UN to the American Institute in Taiwan, all of them have joined the island-cheering squad on social media.

The US’ active support to the “pro-independence” Taiwan authorities is one in a series of US moves that has deteriorated Sino-US relations in recent years. The US is playing the “Taiwan card” to create more political troubles for the Chinese mainland, especially to divert American people’s attention from the failure of the administration to control the coronavirus outbreak at home.

By openly backing the DPP’s separatist policies, Washington intends to intensify cross-Straits disputes and get the upper hand against Beijing. It is of least concern to Washington that in this Sino-US conflict the island could end up being the worst sufferer.

Unsurprisingly, this tirade concluded with Beijing’s latest thinly-veiled threat to attack Taiwan if the island keeps refusing to accept Chinese Communist dominance.

China’s state-run Xinhua news service claimed Beijing has already done more than enough to address Taiwan’s concerns – an outrageous claim given the CCP’s constant lies and evasions about the coronavirus – and insisted the rest of the world must keep giving Taipei the cold shoulder to demonstrate its commitment to the “one China principle”:

The 73rd session of the WHA, scheduled from May 18 to 19, will only cover essential items including COVID-19 response and an executive board election. This shows that the goal of the member states is to focus on international cooperation to battle COVID-19.

The WHA has for many years rejected some countries’ Taiwan-related proposals, demonstrating the shared international commitment to the one-China principle, an overriding trend that cannot be challenged.

Since COVID-19 broke out, Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party authorities have been hyping up the so-called “Taiwan’s participation in the WHA,” exposing their intention to use the epidemic to seek “Taiwan independence.” Such an attempt will never succeed.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Wu called out the CCP for its hypocrisy, declaring that the people of Taiwan “abhor the two-faced behavior of the Chinese government, which claims to care for their health and welfare while actually seeking to deprive them of their right to health at every turn.”


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