Wed, Feb 12, 2020 - Page 2 News List

Virus Outbreak: Work continues to resolve WHO name problem

MEANINGFUL PROGRESS:The foreign ministry said it would continue efforts to secure the nation’s timely and complete participation in all events on the disease

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan is continuing efforts to join a WHO online forum with a name more closely aligned to the nation’s interests, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, adding that Taiwanese experts being invited to the closed-door event is a meaningful, but insufficient, sign of progress.

Amid concern about the 2019 novel coronavirus, whose spread shows no signs of stopping, the WHO was yesterday to convene the two-day forum on critical research and development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, among other innovations.

While Taiwan has been denied entry to the global body’s emergency meetings on the virus crisis, WHO Health Emergencies Program executive director Michael Ryan on Saturday said that Taiwanese experts would join the online forum.

The Centers for Disease Control on Monday said that Taiwan would join the meeting with the reference name of “Taipei.”

The nation’s name has become an issue in the discussions about the virus, as references to it have changed from “Taiwan, China,” “Taipei Municipality” and “Taipei” to “Taipei and environs” in the WHO’s situation reports.

Asked to comment on the issue at a news briefing in Taipei yesterday morning, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said that the ministry was still negotiating with the WHO to have Taiwanese delegates join the event with dignity and equality, but did not confirm whether it has settled on “Taipei.”

All attendees are required to sign a confidentiality agreement, she said, adding that their discussions would serve as reference information for various governments.

The ministry could not offer many details, especially before the meeting, she said.

Ou praised the WHO for inviting Taiwanese delegates and thanked the nation’s diplomatic allies and like-minded partners for voicing strong support for Taiwan, which prompted the WHO to squarely face the urgency to include the nation.

It is “meaningful progress” that Taiwan was invited to the expert meeting, she said, adding that the nation would continue to strive for timely and complete participation in all WHO events on fighting the disease.

Taiwan would also strive to join this year’s World Health Assembly as an observer, she said.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top