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Tsai should not hijack the WHA issue for political end: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2018-05-17 21:58

This year’s World Health Assembly will be held in Geneva from May 21 to 26. And for the second year running, Taiwan will not attend.

As the World Health Organization confirmed on Tuesday, the previous invitations extended to the island from 2009 to 2016 were a special arrangement based on a cross-Straits understanding that allowed the island to attend as an observer.

But this arrangement was based on the island’s previous administration upholding the 1992 Consensus that there is only one China.

This essential foundation for the arrangement is now nonexistent thanks to Tsai Ing-wen and her pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party’s refusal to acknowledge the consensus.

That is the reason for the island’s nonattendance at this year’s WHA, and the Tsai administration should shoulder the blame.

But like it did last year, the current administration on the island has again tried to play up a sense of victimhood, claiming that its exclusion from the WHA puts the island’s 23 million residents’ health at risk.

But as WHO has clarified previously, experts from the island regularly attend WHO technical meetings and it is in contact with the island’s health authority.

In fact, it is the Tsai administration that is hijacking public health on the island to serve its political end. It hopes that by playing on the heartstrings of the international community, it will be able to nudge its way into the WHA.

And the reason why the island wants to worm its way into the WHA is so it can claim it has the status of an independent nation. As the main meeting of the World Health Organization, an affiliated agency of the United Nations, WHA participation requires statehood.

The DPP persists in trying such tricks, because it knows the mainland has the firm will and sufficient capabilities to block any moves they might make toward formal independence. However, such ruses are both foolish and futile.

The Tsai administration should reflect on the island's absence from the WHA again this year, and recognize that the only way for the island to expand its international space is to recognize the one-China principle, the cornerstone of cross-Straits relations.

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