More than 5,000 people in Japan have signed a petition supporting Taiwan’s participation at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland, this month.
The petition was initiated by Taiwan-linked non-governmental groups.
Taiwan has not received an invitation to attend the May 20 to 28 summit of the WHA, the WHO’s decisionmaking body, for the third consecutive year due to Chinese obstruction.
Several Taiwanese groups in Japan — including the Taiwan Benevolent Association of Northern Kyushu, the West Japan Taiwan Alumni Association and the Chinese Society of Fukushima Prefecture — initiated the petition in late March.
The groups on Saturday presented the signatures to Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who was visiting Kyushu with a delegation of healthcare officials, academics and businesspeople for the Asia-Pacific Conference.
More than 5,000 people, including Japanese healthcare professionals, politicians, businesspeople, media professionals and Taiwanese expats signed the petition, the groups said.
The government has sought to have the nation recognized, and participate in cooperation and exchanges on global healthcare issues since Taiwan was excluded from the WHA in 2016, the ministry said.
Taiwan has expertise in the medical and public health fields, so hopefully many nations and overseas Taiwanese would support the nation, allowing it to realize the concept of “health for all,” it said.
In Canada on Saturday, nearly 300 Taiwanese attended a walk event in Toronto to show support for Taiwan’s participation at the WHA and their gratitude to the Canadian government for supporting the nation’s bid.
Attendees walked and waved Republic of China (ROC) flags while holding signs that read: “Support for Taiwan,” “Thank you, Canada,” “Taiwan for WHO & WHA” and “World health needs Taiwan.”
Representative to Canada Catherine Hsu (徐詠梅) said that health is a basic human right and no one should be excluded from it for any reason.
Taiwan can make significant contributions to global disease prevention and healthcare, Hsu said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that lawmakers from the Czech Republic and Peru have expressed their support for Taiwan to participate at the WHA.
In a letter addressed to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Czech lawmakers asked that Taiwan not be excluded from the body, saying it was unfair to deny the nation’s 23 million people access to the global disease prevention system.
In a separate declaration, Peruvian lawmakers praised Taiwan’s advances in the fields of healthcare and health insurance, and supported Taiwan’s professional and pragmatic participation at the WHO and WHA so that it could share its medical technology and experience with countries around the world.
Additional reporting by CNA
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