Tue, May 07, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Tsai seeks Belgian aid as WHA nears

NOT BACKING DOWN:President Tsai Ing-wen expressed the hope that visiting Belgian Senate President Jacques Brotchi would ask his government to support Taiwan’s WHA bid

Staff writer, with CNA

President Tsai Ing-wen, center, greets the Belgian delegation at the Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Belgian government would hopefully support Taiwan’s efforts to participate in the World Health Assembly (WHA) later this month, as any exclusion would leave a hole in the global epidemic prevention network, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told Belgian Senate President Jacques Brotchi yesterday.

In an April 15 letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, heads of Taiwan friendship groups in the European Parliament and the parliaments of Germany, France and the UK expressed support for Taiwan’s participation in this year’s WHA, Tsai said while receiving Brotchi at the Presidential Office.

Tsai said she hoped that Brotchi would ask the Belgian government to also support Taiwan’s WHA bid, as health is a basic human right.

Part of China’s efforts to suppress Taiwan has been to block its participation in the WHA, an action that would leave a hole in global epidemic prevention and endanger the health of people worldwide, she said.

The Belgian Parliament has often supported Taiwan, Tsai said, thanking Brotchi and other Belgian lawmakers.

For example, the Belgian Parliament has passed several pro-Taiwan resolutions, supported a proposed investment agreement between Taiwan and the EU, backed Taiwan’s bid to participate in international organizations and recognized Taiwan’s efforts to maintain regional peace, Tsai added.

Belgium has been a faithful trading partner of Taiwan, with many Belgian companies teaming up with Taiwanese firms to develop green energy and pharmaceutical biotechnology projects in Taiwan, Tsai said.

Meeting also yesterday with Saint Kitts and Nevis Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Brantley, Tsai told him of China’s growing suppression of Taiwan.

However, rather than backing down, Taiwan is more determined than ever to deepen cooperative ties with its diplomatic allies, she said.

In its relations with Saint Kitts and Nevis, one of its Caribbean allies, Taiwan would strengthen bilateral cooperation in agricultural technology, education, public health and medical care, Tsai said.

The WHA, the decisionmaking body of the WHO, is to hold its 72nd session from May 20 to 28 in Geneva, Switzerland. Taiwan wants to attend the meeting as an observer, but has yet to receive an invitation from the WHA.

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