Taiwan criticized China on Monday for its continued exclusion from a crucial annual gathering of members of the World Health Organization that begins this week and focuses on preventing the next pandemic disaster.
The 74th World Health Assembly, which begins on Monday, will arguably be one of the most important in WHO’s history, amid calls to revamp the organization and the entire global approach to health. health following the coronavirus pandemic.
But Taiwan – which has had one of the best responses to the pandemic in the world – remains excluded from the meeting for the fifth year in a row, despite growing international support from the international community for its inclusion.
This is because China, which sees autonomous democracy as its own territory and has vowed to capture it one day, has waged an increasingly assertive campaign to keep Taipei isolated on the world stage.
On Monday, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu urged the WHO to “maintain a professional and neutral stance, reject China’s political interference” and allow Taiwan’s participation in its meetings and activities.
“China has continued to falsely claim that proper arrangements have been made for Taiwan’s participation in the WHO. This is totally deviating from reality, ”Wu said.
Beijing’s ban on Taipei from attending the WHA as an observer began after the 2016 election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who refused to recognize the island as part of “one China” .
But the coronavirus pandemic crystallized support for Taiwan’s 23 million people, especially at the start of the crisis, when it overcame its own epidemic and then began providing protective gear around the world.
Taiwan has been hailed as an example of fighting the pandemic, although one group in recent weeks has seen infections more than triple to 4,322 cases.
The island has recorded 23 deaths.
Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said the recent “escalation” of cases shows that Taiwan “cannot stay away and there should be no gap in global disease prevention. “.
“WHO must serve the health and well-being of all mankind and not capitulate to the political interests of a certain member,” Chen said in a statement.
International support for Taiwan has been stronger this year, including a statement issued by G7 foreign ministers that supported “Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the WHO and AMS”.
© 2021 AFP