Statements of support from Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and like-minded partners for the country’s bid to participate as an observer in the 73rd World Health Assembly are sincerely appreciated, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Feb. 6.
Calls from partners for the World Health Organization to invite Taiwan to attend the global body’s activities, mechanisms and meetings including the WHA scheduled for May 17-21 in Geneva have taken on a new urgency following the recent Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in China, the MOFA said. Their voices are part of a growing chorus recognizing the importance of including Taiwan, the ministry added.
According to the MOFA, Taiwan is not part of the People’s Republic of China, and only the country’s democratically elected government is entitled to speak up for and safeguard the rights of its 23 million people. As a multilateral organization responsible for global public health safety, the WHO should make appropriate arrangements for Taiwan and not shut the country out due to pressure from China, the ministry said.
The MOFA’s remarks follow strong statements by representatives from diplomatic allies such as Eswatini, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Paraguay, and St. Kitts and Nevis, as well as like-minded partners including Australia, Belgium, Japan, New Zealand, the EU, the U.K. and the U.S. during the WHO Executive Board meeting Feb. 3-8 in Geneva.
Simon M. Zwane, principal secretary of Eswatini’s Ministry of Health, said Feb. 3 that limited access to information and technical meetings leaves Taiwan’s people vulnerable to global pandemics. The country’s cutting-edge expertise can benefit all in the international community, he added.
The sentiment was echoed by Julio Cesar Peralta Rodas, Paraguayan deputy permanent representative to the U.N. Rodas requested the global body provide Taiwan with timely information to avoid putting public health and safety at risk.
Calderon Pinzon, director of Guatemala’s Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance, also expressed appreciation for Taiwan’s contributions, noting its tireless efforts to improve health in the Central American country.
Other leaders, representatives and organizations speaking in support of Taiwan previously include Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; Canadian PM Justin Trudeau; U.S. Department of State officials and Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the European External Action Service; the Central American Integration System; and the Central American Parliament. (YCH-E)