President Tsai Ing-wen expressed a solemn protest yesterday against the World Health Organization secretariat’s decision not to invite Taiwan to the May 18-19 virtual World Health Assembly.
Tsai said Taiwan Can Help and is helping countries around the world combat the COVID-19 pandemic by donating medical supplies and sharing its disease-fighting experience. Political considerations should not override the human right to health, and excluding the country from the WHA is not in the common interests of the international community, she added.
Tsai made the remarks during a visit to the Central Epidemic Command Center in Taipei City where she paid tribute to frontline staffers, inviting them to attend the inauguration ceremony for her second term as ROC (Taiwan) president set for the following day.
According to Tsai, Taiwan’s success managing the coronavirus pandemic has garnered worldwide attention, with many countries including the U.S. issuing statements of support. Despite not receiving a WHA invite, Taiwan will always strive for its rightful place in global affairs, she said, adding the government will continue to raise the country’s international profile.
In a statement released the same day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanked the country’s diplomatic allies and like-minded partners for speaking up for Taiwan during the WHA.
One example was U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, who said the health of Taiwan’s 23 million people should never be sacrificed for political point scoring.
Such unprecedented support underscores global recognition of Taiwan’s bid for pragmatic and professional engagement in the U.N. agency, the ministry said.
The MOFA urged the WHO to remain professional and neutral, resist political intervention from China and facilitate Taiwan’s full participation in all relevant activities, mechanisms and meetings. (SFC-E)