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Taiwan's WHA request 'political'

By ZHANG YI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-05-19 09:13
A view of 101 tower, Taipei, in July 2019. [Photo/Sipa]

Taiwan's attempt to attend the World Health Assembly is a "political scheme" that aims to seek independence under the pretext of the pandemic, a spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office has said.

The island's ruling Democratic Progress Party had been soliciting support for Taiwan's participation in this year's WHA, the decisionmaking body of the World Health Organization that is scheduled to meet from Monday to Tuesday, by claiming there will be a "gap" in global anti-epidemic efforts if Taiwan is not able to participate.

Some countries, including the United States, had also been asking the WHO to invite Taiwan as an observer to the assembly and pushing for WHA discussion of this proposal.

The political foundation for Taiwan to attend WHA no longer exists as the DPP refused to recognize the one-China principle, mainland authorities have said.

DPP authorities have been busy with political manipulation since COVID-19 broke out. Their true intention is to seek independence under the pretext of the pandemic, said Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office.

As a part of China, Taiwan does not have the right to join the WHO because a WHO member must be a sovereign nation, according to Yan Anlin, a researcher at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.

Taiwan's participation in international organizations, including the WHO, must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle, which is also enshrined in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1, he said.

From 2009 to 2016, Taiwan participated in the WHA as an observer under the name Chinese Taipei. Since 2017, however, the island has been prohibited from the assembly since Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning DPP took office in May 2016.

Despite this, technical communication and a cooperation channel between the island and the WHO is always open, according to Ma.

"We are always concerned about the health and well-being of the compatriots in Taiwan. There is no barrier for the island to obtain information on the epidemic," he said.

In January, the mainland hosted Taiwan experts traveling to Wuhan to observe epidemic containment efforts on the ground. As of May 15, the mainland has sent 152 notifications on COVID-19 to the island, official data show.

Since 2019, under the one-China principle, altogether 24 Taiwan experts in 16 groups have participated in WHO technical activities, according to Ma.

A few countries that insist on discussing the proposal relating to Taiwan at this year's WHA aim to politicize the health issue to seek selfish political gains at the expense of hijacking the WHA and undermining global anti-pandemic cooperation, said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian.

Their attempt will inevitably disrupt the WHA proceedings and international cooperation, which will be firmly rejected by the vast majority of the international community, he said.

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