US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday urged WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite Taiwan to this month’s World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer, prompting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to thank the US for its steadfast support.
During a news briefing at the White House, Pompeo called on all nations to support Taiwan’s bid to join the annual assembly, which is expected to begin on May 18.
“Today I want to call upon all nations, including those in Europe, to support Taiwan’s participation as an observer at the World Health Assembly and in other relevant United Nations venues. I also call upon WHO Director-General Tedros to invite Taiwan to observe this month’s WHA, as he has the power to do, and as his predecessors have done on multiple occasions,” Pompeo said.
Taiwan participated in the WHA as an observer from 2009 to 2016, but has not been invited since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office on May 20, 2016.
Pompeo made the remarks after he accused Beijing of covering up the outbreak in Wuhan, China, causing brave Chinese who raised the alarm to disappear and of deploying its propaganda machine to denounce those calling for transparency.
“China is still refusing to share the information we need to keep people safe, such as viral isolates, clinical specimens and details about the many COVID-19 patients in December 2019, not to mention ‘patient zero,’” he said.
Many countries are beginning to understand the risks of doing business with the Chinese Community Party and taking action to protect their people, he said, describing the trend as a “newfound realism.”
The ministry yesterday thanked Pompeo for supporting Taiwan’s bid to join global organizations.
The US Department of State also launched a “TweetforTaiwan” campaign last week to rally support for Taiwan’s bid, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news briefing in Taipei.
The ongoing threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic shows that the global disease prevention system must leave no one behind, she said.
The ministry would continue to work with the US and other like-minded partners to defend the health and security of Taiwanese and Americans, as well as other people around the globe, she added.
Five of Taiwan’s 15 diplomatic allies — Eswatini, the Marshall Islands, Nicaragua, Palau and Saint Lucia — as of Wednesday had submitted proposals to the WHO, urging it to invite Taiwan to the assembly, and more are expected to voice support, she added.
Ou also condemned Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) for seeking to mislead the global community, after Hua on Wednesday claimed that Beijing has properly arranged for Taiwan to participate in global health events.
Regarding WHO legal counsel Derek Walton’s reference to “Taiwan, China” during a news briefing on Wednesday, Ou reiterated that it is a fact that Taiwan does not belong to the People’s Republic of China.
As the world’s most important health organization, the WHO should not succumb to irrational pressure from China and, in forsaking its neutrality, downgrade Taiwan, she added.
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