MOFA protests WHA exclusion, thanks supporters

23 May, 2023

Courtesy of ICRT


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is expressing its "dissatisfaction" towards Taiwan's exclusion from this week's World Health Organization's (WHO) annual assembly (WHA) in Geneva.


According to the ministry, the World Health Assembly's decision not to put a proposal initiated by Taiwan's diplomatic allies on the agenda to invite the island to participate as an observer is "deeply regrettable."  

The statement comes after the assembly chose not to extend an invitation to Taiwan due to opposition from China, despite Belize, Nauru, eSwatini and the Marshall Islands all speaking up for its inclusion during a debate. The foreign ministry says "excluding Taiwan because of political pressure from China is not only unjust, but also constitutes a grave risk to global health."


The ministry is also slamming Beijing for the move - saying China's "outrageous and unreasonable" behaviour cannot change the fact that "only Taiwan's democratically-elected government has the right to represent Taiwan's 23 million people at the WHO."


MOFA Minister Joseph Wu is slamming the head of the World Health Organization for his failure to adhere to the global health body's own regulations concerning Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly. During a legislative hearing, Wu accused Tedros Ad-hanom Ghebreyesus of lying about his ability to approve Taiwan's attendance as a observer. Wu said Taiwan's participation in the W-H-A does not need the approval of other member states. The foreign minister also stressed that denying representation for Taiwan's 23 million people at the global health body's annual meeting is both unjust and a major loss for genuine global health coverage.


At the same time, MOFA expressed its gratitude to the more than 6,000 people from around the world for supporting Taiwan's inclusion in the WHA. The MOFA says those who have voiced their support for Taiwan's participation as an observer include governments, lawmakers, medical groups, think tanks and civil groups.


Among those who have called for Taiwan's inclusion were lawmakers from European Union member states, and the US, where Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement calling for Taiwan's participation as an observer.

Aside from this, the ministry says support has come from more than 70 countries and across five continents, and seen through parliamentary resolutions, public statements and letters to the WHO's secretariat. Taiwan’s 12 diplomatic allies have all called on the WHO for Taiwan's inclusion.


Meanwhile, health minister Hsueh Jui-yuan is in Geneva pushing the case for Taiwan's inclusion in the WHO. Speaking at a news conference hosted by the Geneva Press Club, Hsueh said the WHO's director-general has the authority to invite Taiwan to participate in the WHA and there is no need to hold a vote of member states.


According to Hsueh, that occurred in 2009, when the then-WHO secretary-general directly invited Taiwan to attend the WHA as an observer. The health minister went on to say that "Taiwan's membership at the WHO is a public health issue instead of a political one" and stressed that "health is a basic human right that must leave no one behind."


Hsueh also accused China of wrongly interpreting the United Nations General Assembly 2758 Resolution - arguing that "the resolution does not address the issue of representing Taiwan."

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