Tue, Dec 25, 2018 - Page 1 News List

MOFA suspends WHO donation to fight Ebola

By Lu Yi-hsuan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of International Organizations Director-General Bob Chen is pictured in Taipei on Oct. 16.

Photo: CNA

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday suspended an offer of US$1 million to the WHO to combat the Ebola virus, saying “political factors” were to blame for the project’s demise.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in May pledged the donation of funds originally earmarked for foreign aid to Burkina Faso, shortly after the west African nation severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Last week, the WHO convention secretariat told the ministry that it was unable to credit the nation in a way that Taiwan would find acceptable, Director-General of Internal Organizations Bob Chen (陳龍錦) told a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

The convention secretariat was quoted by Chen as saying that “political factors” were to blame, but the WHO remained hopeful it could collaborate with Taiwan on health issues in the future.

The ministry “suspended” the donation and told the WHO that the nation remains open-minded over cooperation with the world health body, he said.

The ministry’s position was that any arrangement to be made by the WHO must be respectful of the nation’s dignity and acknowledge the support Taiwanese have for the organization, Chen said.

“The nation’s willingness and ability to contribute to international causes has been proven,” he said.

Previously, the government had said it favored being credited as “Taiwan” or “the Republic of China” for donations, but would also not explicitly rule out “Chinese Taipei.”

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