Taiwan: China blocking participation in WHO annual meet

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Taipei, May 8 (IANS) Taiwan on Tuesday accused China of blocking it from participating in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual assembly.

Last year was the first time in eight years that Taiwan was not invited to attend the yearly gathering in Geneva, Switzerland.

Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO annual assembly violates its citizens’ right to health since “the highest attainable standard of health is the fundamental right of every human being and the people of Taiwan must enjoy this right without discrimination”, the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement cited by Efe news.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the Taiwanese government agency in charge of Chinese affairs called China’s “malicious actions inappropriate and irresponsible” that were aimed at “obstructing” Taiwan’s participation in the 71st World Health Assembly, which will take place from May 21 to 26 in Geneva.

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Taiwan said that although China claimed to represent the Taiwanese at the WHO, mainland China never notified Taiwan of any global epidemic situations.

Taiwan said that China’s statements that “proper arrangements had been made in this regard ran contrary to fact and were designed to mislead the international community”.

Taiwan attended the WHO as an observer under the name “Chinese Taipei” from 2009 to 2016 with the support of the US and the implicit acceptance of China at a time when the island had better ties with Beijing under former President Ma Ying-jeou.

Current leader Tsai Ing-wen is known to be a Beijing-sceptic and relations between the island and the mainland have been strained since she took power in 2016.

–IANS

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