Allies, others thanked for WHO support

INCLUSION::No nation should be left behind, given globalization and the growing threat of infectious diseases spreading across national borders, Japan told the WHO

Staff writer, with CNA

Sun, Feb 03, 2019 - Page 3

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday thanked allies and like-minded countries that expressed support at a recent WHO Executive Board Meeting for Taiwan’s wish to participate in the world health body.

The ministry extended gratitude to allies Haiti, Paraguay, Eswatini, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and the Solomon Islands, as well as the US and Japan, all of which spoke out in favor of Taiwan’s inclusion in the WHO at last month’s meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

Taiwan is hoping that the WHO would recognize the nation’s contribution to global health issues and arrange for it to be included in the international organization, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Nicaraguan Minister of Foreign Affairs Denis Moncada and Nicaraguan Minister of Health Sonia Castro have also written to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, calling for Taiwan to be allowed to participate as an observer at this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA), the decisionmaking body of the WHO, it said.

Although Saint Lucia, and Saint Kitts and Nevis — two of the nation’s Caribbean allies — did not send representatives to the meeting, their respective health ministers, Mary Isaac and Eugene Hamilton, wrote to the world body’s executive board in support of Taiwan’s participation, it said.

The US expressed support for Taiwan’s offer last year to contribute US$1 million to the global Ebola response effort and said it was disappointed that the WHO had not yet found a way to accept the offer, the ministry said.

For its part, Japan said that no one should be left behind, given globalization and the growing threat of infectious diseases spreading across borders.

Allowing politics to interfere would hinder the WHO from realizing the global health vision that Tedros laid out in 2017 under the theme: “Together for a healthier world,” the ministry said.

From 2009 to 2016, Taiwan attended the WHA as an observer under the name Chinese Taipei, with the help of the US and amid better relations with China at the time.

However, since 2017, China has persuaded the WHO not to invite Taiwan, as Beijing has taken a hardline stance on cross-strait relations since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016.

Although Taiwan was excluded from the WHA sessions in 2017 and last year, it sent delegations to Geneva both times to meet on the sidelines with officials from participating countries and to protest its exclusion from the meetings.