Four diplomatic allies spoke up for Taiwan during the two-on-two debates held during the General Committee and plenary session on Day 1 of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs May 21.
The people and government deeply appreciate the backing of Honduras, Kingdom of Eswatini, Marshall Islands and St. Vincent and Grenadines, the MOFA said. The support underscores the importance of Taiwan’s WHA participation and how Taiwan Can Help contribute to global health security, the ministry added.
Giampaolo Carmelo Rizzo, Honduras permanent representative to the U.N. Office in Geneva, said many countries can learn from Taiwan’s experience in ensuring the health and well-being of its people, providing humanitarian assistance and improving global medical care coverage.
Lizzy Nkosi, Kingdom of Eswatini minister of health, said the participation of Taiwan in the WHA as an observer is a health matter and issue of basic human rights, adding that the mandate of the World Health Organization to delivering Health For All will never be fulfilled if Taiwan’s 23 million people are left out.
Kalani Kaneko, Marshall Islands minister of health and human services, urged the WHO to put political differences aside and place the world’s interests first. Taiwan needs to be included in the WHA if the health security of all countries is to be maintained, he said.
Luke Browne, St. Vincent and the Grenadines minister of health, wellness and the environment, said there is no principled basis for Taiwan’s absence from the WHA, adding that its previous participation is an open acknowledgement by China of an inability to adequately represent the interests of Taiwan at the forum.
Delegates from countries such as Australia, Canada, Guatemala, Japan, Palau, Paraguay, and the U.S., also showed support for Taiwan. Among these, Alex Azar—U.S. secretary of health and human services—said his country regrets Taiwan’s non-invitation, adding that its 23 million people deserve a voice just as much as everyone else.
The WHA is the annual meeting of the governing body of the WHO. Taiwan is excluded from the 72nd edition running May 20-28 in Geneva at the request of Beijing. (SFC-E)