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WHA's decision on Taiwan supports one-China principle

By ZHANG YI in Beijing and LIA ZHU in San Francisco | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-05-26 07:29
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Delegates attend the 74th WHA via video link in Beijing, China, May 24, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Taiwan's exclusion this year from the World Health Assembly shows that the one-China principle is the consensus of the international community and hyping up Taiwan-related issues at the WHA is unpopular, Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, said on Tuesday.

The WHA, the World Health Organization's highest decisionmaking body, refused on Monday to include a proposal on Taiwan's participation in its agenda.

From 2009 to 2016, Taiwan participated in the WHA as an observer under the name Chinese Taipei. However, since 2017, after the Democratic Progressive Party, which leans toward "independence", took office in May 2016, the island has been barred from the assembly.

[Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

Despite this, the mainland has promoted health exchanges and cooperation between the two sides and adopted multiple measures to make proper arrangements for Taiwan's participation in global health affairs under the one-China principle, Zhu said.

Taiwan has effective access to information and aid on COVID-19 prevention and control, she said.

The mainland has notified Taiwan of pandemic-related information 260 times and agreed to allow health experts from Taiwan to participate in WHO technical activities 16 times since the outbreak in 2019, she said.

The channels for cooperation have been kept open for Taiwan to handle the pandemic, and the region can receive information or assistance without joining the WHA as an observer, said Betty Yuan, a Chinese for Peaceful Unification-Northern California council member.

"Their true aim is trying to politicize the matter instead of doing good for the Taiwan people," said Yuan, who is originally from Taiwan and is a longtime community leader in the San Francisco Bay Area.

[Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

As the pandemic is still raging in the island, residents recently urged the island's DPP administration to buy mainland vaccines to replenish lacking supplies and keep the situation from deteriorating.

In response, Zhu said the mainland is willing to arrange a prompt purchase of COVID-19 vaccines from the mainland and to send epidemic prevention and control experts to Taiwan.

Wu Yifang, chairman of Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group, said in a recent Xinhua News Agency interview that the company is willing to provide Taiwan with COVID-19 vaccines. Fosun signed a contract with BioNTech to participate in the research and development of vaccine products of Germany's BioNTech and has exclusive rights to the vaccine on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Taiwan officials from the DPP rejected the mainland's help offer and said the gesture was made in order to mislead the public into blaming the island's authorities.

Zhu said the so-called claim by the DPP that there is a "gap" in global anti-virus efforts if Taiwan is not able to participate in the WHA is a political lie and an excuse used by the political party to seek "independence".

She urged the DPP authorities not to go further down the wrong path, saying, "Any attempt to challenge the one-China principle is bound to end in failure."

The DPP's "attempt to participate in the WHA is actually to create 'Taiwan independence' at a time when the pandemic continues to plague the region", said Sam Ng, honorary president of the Committee to Promote the Reunification of China-San Francisco.

"The leaders should focus on fighting the virus. If they are really concerned about the people's health, they should accept the mainland's vaccines."

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