Fri, Jan 24, 2020 - Page 2 News List

Ministry protests China listing in WHO report

THE RIGHT CONDITIONS:Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said that Beijing ignoring anything that might make it look bad delays response to dangerous outbreaks in China

By Lin Chia-nan and Chen Ching-min  /  Staff reporters

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday lodged a protest with the WHO for listing a coronavirus infection in Taiwan as part of China’s infection cases.

The WHO on Wednesday released a situation report on the novel coronavirus — first reported in Wuhan, China — following the first on Tuesday.

In the second report, Taiwan’s only infection case was listed as from “Taiwan, China,” alongside Hubei, Guangdong and other provinces of China.

The ministry said in a statement that it has instructed the Geneva office of the Taipei Cultural and Economic Delegation in Switzerland to file a solemn protest with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and demand a correction of the nation’s name.

As a global health body, the WHO should reject political pressure and endeavor to allow every human being to enjoy “the highest attainable standard of health” as stipulated in its constitution, the ministry said.

However, the organization continues to comply with China’s barbaric request to impose Beijing’s “one China” principle as a prerequisite for Taiwan to join the global disease prevention system, to which the ministry said that it expressed its strongest protest.

Echoing President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) call on Wednesday for the WHO not to exclude Taiwan’s 23 million people due to Chinese pressure, the ministry urged the WHO to invite Taiwanese experts to attend all meetings on combating the coronavirus.

Taiwan can absolutely contribute to global disease prevention with its advanced healthcare and medical system, it added.

Separately yesterday, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), previously a surgeon at National Taiwan University Hospital, said that China often only reports the good news and not the bad, making it easy for responses to outbreaks to be delayed.

Ko — founder of the Taiwan People’s Party, which is to become the third-largest party in the Legislative Yuan following the Jan. 11 legislative elections, and who is sometimes criticized for his ambiguous attitude toward China — made the comment when asked by reporters to compare epidemic prevention in Taiwan and China.

Taiwan’s healthcare system has ranked among the best in the world since the Japanese colonial era, he said.

Even during the SARS epidemic 17 years ago, Taiwan’s prevention efforts were better than those of other nations, he said.

“I am confident in Taiwan’s healthcare system,” Ko said.

Asked about Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang’s (耿爽) claim on Wednesday that “no one cares more” about the health of Taiwanese than the Chinese government, Ko said: “In that case, it should quickly allow Taiwan to join the WHO.”

Asked about Geng also saying that Taiwan could only join global organizations under the “one China” principle, Ko said that meant: “If you do not listen to me, then I will not care about your health.”

The coronavirus has an incubation period of up to 12 days, so a person could contract the disease and, without exhibiting symptoms, board an airplane and pass through health checks, Ko said, adding that the important thing now is to quickly stamp out viruses once they are discovered.

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