The US Mission in Geneva on Friday urged WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite Taiwan to a major meeting that the body is to host next week, with the focus expected to be on the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We encourage the WHO to expand its efforts to offer Taiwan increased meaningful cooperation and collaboration with the organization, and this would be a needed step in that direction,” the mission said in a statement.
Washington has been deeply critical of the WHO and Tedros for its handling of the pandemic, saying it is too close to China.
It has said it might withdraw from the world health body.
Backed by the US, Taiwan this year has stepped up lobbying to again take part in the World Health Assembly (WHA) — the WHO’s decisionmaking body — as an observer.
Taiwan, which was praised internationally for quickly containing the novel coronavirus, was not invited to an earlier meeting by the same body in May and it agreed to put off the issue until later in the year.
In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked World Medical Association Council chairman Frank Montgomery for his open letter on Wednesday to Tedros urging the WHO to invite Taiwan to the WHA as an observer.
The association made a similar call in April.
Separately, after 102 members of the European Parliament and four German lawmakers in May issued an open letter calling for Taiwan to be included in the virtual WHA, 106 members of the European Council also wrote to Tedros on Thursday in support of Taiwan’s participation in the WHA as an observer.
On Thursday, the ministry said that 144 parliamentarians from the Central American Parliament (CAP) and across Latin America had issued a joint declaration supporting Taiwan’s WHO participation.
The parliamentarians, including CAP President Fanny Salinas Fernandez and National Assembly of Nicaragua President Gustavo Porras, made the call at the Formosa Club — a coalition of Taiwan friendship clubs — via video link, the ministry said in a statement.
They praised Taiwan for its success in fighting the pandemic and expressed support for its participation in the WHA, as well as at its technical meetings, programs and events, the ministry said.
Asked on Friday about next week’s WHA meeting, WHO principal legal officer Steven Solomon said: “Taiwanese involvement at the WHA as an observer continues to be a question for member states.”
The body has previously said that it has no mandate to invite Taiwan, as members disagree on the nation’s participation.
The virtual meeting of 194 member states is to begin tomorrow and run through Saturday.
EIGHT-YEAR WINDOW: Avril Haines said that Beijing is closely watching the Russian invasion of Ukraine, although Moscow’s actions have not sped up Beijing’s timeline The threat posed by China to Taiwan until 2030 is “critical,” US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said on Tuesday while testifying on worldwide threats at a hearing of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services. “I think it’s fair to say that it’s critical, or acute,” Haines said when asked by US Senator Josh Hawley if she viewed the threat facing Taiwan to be acute from now until 2030. “It’s our view that they [China] are working hard to effectively put themselves into a position in which their military is capable of taking Taiwan over our intervention,” she said, without
‘DAMOCLES SWORD’: An Italian missionary said the arrest of cardinal Zen is a blow for the church in Hong Kong, China and the world, signaling great danger ahead China yesterday defended the arrest of a 90-year-old Catholic cardinal under Hong Kong’s National Security Law, a move that triggered international outrage and deepened concerns over Beijing’s crackdown on freedoms in the territory. Retired cardinal Joseph Zen (陳日君), one of the most senior Catholic clerics in Asia, was among a group of veteran democracy advocates arrested on Wednesday for “colluding with foreign forces.” Pop singer Denise Ho (何韻詩), veteran barrister Margaret Ng (吳靄儀) and cultural studies academic Hui Po-keung (許寶強) were also arrested, the latter as he attempted to fly to Europe to take up an academic post. Cyd Ho (何秀蘭), a democracy
PEACE AND STABILITY: American Institute in Taiwan spokesman Ed Dunn called Taiwan a leading democracy and a critical economic and security partner of the US Changes to the US Department of State’s fact sheet on Taiwan indicate a significant warming in relations between the two nations, an academic said yesterday, as Beijing denounced them as “political manipulation.” The department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs on Thursday updated its online fact sheet on Taiwan-US relations, removing statements saying that Washington acknowledged Beijing’s “one China” position and did not support Taiwanese independence. A previous version of the document opened with the statement: “The United States and Taiwan enjoy a robust unofficial relationship” and said the US acknowledged “the Chinese position that there is but one China and
OPPOSING CHINESE ‘HOSTILITY’: The bill orders the state secretary to create a plan to regain observer status for Taiwan, saying Taipei is a model contributor to world health US President Joe Biden on Friday signed a bill into law to help Taiwan regain observer status at the World Health Assembly (WHA), demonstrating Washington’s support for Taiwan’s international participation. Friday was the deadline for Biden to sign the bill (S.812), which directs “the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to regain observer status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization (WHO), and for other purposes.” The 75th WHA, the decisionmaking body of the WHO, is scheduled to meet in Geneva, Switzerland, from Sunday next week to May 28. The bill, introduced by US Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the US Senate