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Taipei's gamble with people's health: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-05-22 18:29
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It is natural that the World Health Organization should deny Taiwan's participation in its assembly this year since the ruling Democratic Progressive Party has been attempting to use it for its pro-independence push.

There is no question as to how Taiwan can be accepted as a member of the WHO. It can't. The real question is whether Taiwan is willing to participate in activities of the WHO under the one-China principle. In other words, the Taiwan authorities must acknowledge that the island is an inalienable part of China, of which the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal representative, which is a prerequisite for it getting observer status at the World Health Assembly.

From 2009 to 2016 when both sides across the Taiwan Straits recognized the one-China principle as the foundation for relations across the Straits, the Chinese mainland made special arrangements for the island's participation in activities of the WHO.

The central government has never neglected its care for healthcare issues concerning the well-being of Taiwan residents. The Chinese mainland has informed Taiwan about the latest information of the COVID-19 pandemic about 400 times over the past three years, and it has also approved 47 medical experts from the island to participate in specialized activities of the WHO. Taiwan has also received information from the WHO about the pandemic.

It is preposterous for the Taiwan authorities to accuse the mainland of "putting political considerations over people's health and safety".

It is the Taiwan authorities represented by the DPP that are putting political considerations above Taiwan people's health and safety, and it is because of this that the island has lost Beijing's endorsement of it having observer status.

Brushing aside the one-China principle, the DPP administration has been trying to assert its international presence as an "independent country" at every possible opportunity. The attempt to participate in the WHO activities as a member is no exception.

It is the Taiwan authorities that have hidden the political intentions behind their attempts to join international organizations such as the WHO as a full member. By refusing to recognize the one-China principle, the Taiwan authorities have politicized its relations with international organizations, whose recognition of Taiwan as a member would be tantamount to acknowledging the island as an "independent country".

No international organization would be muddle-headed enough to do that. No wonder the Taiwan authorities have found the island's international contacts and exchanges being whittled down.

The mainland is not blocking Taiwan's access to international organizations such as the WHO. What it is doing is thwarting any attempt by secessionists to seek the island's "independence". At the same time, the mainland is doing whatever is necessary to ensure the well-being of Taiwan residents.

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