Taiwan is to donate US$1 million to the WHO to fight the Ebola virus, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, even though the nation was excluded from the annual meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decisionmaking body of the WHO.
Despite its exclusion from the WHA due to opposition from China, Taiwan is determined to continue contributing to the improvement of global health by donating the money to combat Ebola, which was first reported in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tsai said.
Ebola, transmitted through direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids of infected people, is one of the world’s most virulent diseases.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
Taiwan is a world power in enhancing healthcare and the well-being of people, which is why it is pledging the funds, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said.
The donation shows Taiwan’s willingness to take responsibility as a member of the international community, Huang said.
Tsai made the announcement while receiving a delegation led by Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who had just returned from Geneva, Switzerland, where he solicited support from WHO members for Taiwan’s participation in the WHA and touted Taiwan’s role in disease prevention on the sidelines of the 71st WHA meeting.
Tsai protested against Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHA, saying that the WHO barred Taiwan due only to political reasons.
“Taiwan is a model in strengthening disease prevention in the world, but the WHO’s decision is likely to create a loophole for the global efforts in combating diseases,” Tsai said.
During the WHA’s annual meeting, which was held from Monday to yesterday, Taiwan’s allies and other countries friendly to the nation voiced their support for its presence in the meeting and related activities.
On May 16, a bipartisan group of 172 members of the US House of Representatives sent a letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, calling for Taiwan to be allowed to participate in the WHA.
The international support for Taiwan’s presence at the WHA showed that the harder China suppresses Taiwan on the world stage, the more support Taiwan will secure from the international community, Tsai said.
“Not only have our allies have voiced support for Taiwan, but other nations without formal ties, such as the US, have also lent their support. Taiwan secured support from the largest number of countries in history,” Tsai said.
During his trip to Geneva, Chen was awarded the title of “Diplomat of the Global Charter” by the World Federation of Public Health Associations.
The award showed that Taiwan’s contributions to global health enhancement have been well-recognized in the international community, Tsai said.
Taiwan had hoped to attend the WHA as an observer, as it did from 2009 to 2016, but did not receive an invitation from the WHO because of opposition from China, which has been pressing Tsai to accept the so-called “1992 consensus.”
Tsai said on Facebook that the money pledged to fight the Ebola virus had previously been earmarked for cooperation between Taiwan and Burkina Faso, which severed its relations with Taiwan on Thursday.
The “1992 consensus,” a term former MAC chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000, refers to a tacit understanding between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
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