The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday accused the Chinese government of lying and misleading other nations into blocking Taiwanese flights or tourists, after Italy, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Mongolia imposed bans amid 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) fears.
Beijing has repeatedly lied to the global community by claiming to take good cares of Taiwanese, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news briefing at the ministry in Taipei after being asked about comments Chinese Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Li Song (李松) made at the WHO executive board’s meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, yesterday.
Li told the meeting that “the so-called crevice to global disease prevention resulting from Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO does not exist at all. That is merely a lie and pretext made by Taiwanese authorities seeking to join the WHO assembly.”
Photo: Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times
China has provided Taiwan with the latest information about the new coronavirus based on the principles of transparency and openness, and last month it received two Taiwanese representatives seeking to collect information about the disease in Wuhan, Li said.
Ou rejected Li’s claims, saying that the Taiwanese sent to Wuhan were only able to gather limited information.
The WHO, yoked by Beijing’s pressure, has not responded to Taiwan’s request for more information about the disease, nor has it invited Taiwanese experts to join its emergency meetings, which hampers Taiwan’s efforts to obtain the latest information about the disease or joining discussions about preventive measures, Ou said.
The ministry protests the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ reiteration of the “one China” principle as a prerequisite for Taiwan’s inclusion in the WHO, she said.
Regardless of the 2019-nCoV’s threat to the world’s population, including 23 million Taiwanese, China keeps using the fictional “one China” principle to exclude Taiwan from the WHO and other global organizations, which amounts to politically extorting Taiwanese, while showing its own evil and barbaric nature, Ou said.
The Central Epidemic Command Center said it has requested that the WHO issue corrections after the WHO’s No. 14 situation report released on Monday incorrectly listed “Taipei, China” as having reported 13 cases of 2019-nCoV, when only 10 cases had been confirmed in Taiwan as of Monday.
Ou said the Italian government showed preliminary goodwill by allowing China Airlines to ferry home stranded Taiwanese tourists after Rome on Friday announced a ban on flights from China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan until April 28, following the confirmation that two Chinese tourists in Rome had the virus.
After diplomatic negotiations, the Italian government allowed a China Airlines flight to land to repatriate 254 Taiwanese, who arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday.
However, with its ban, the Italian government made a wrong decision based on wrong information, and the ministry is continuing to ask it to understand that Taiwan is not part of China, Ou said.
Myanmar has not imposed a ban on Taiwanese airlines, but it suspended Myanmar-based airlines’ flights to 11 Chinese cities as well as Mandalay-Taipei flights, Ou said, adding that the ministry is negotiating with Naypyidaw for resuming flights with Taipei.
Local media yesterday reported that 228 Taiwanese were stuck in Myanmar after Myanmar Airways International suspended flights between Mandalay and Taipei.
The ministry is also talking to the Bangladeshi government to clarify that Taiwan is not part of China, Ou said.
Some Taiwanese have had trouble applying for Bangladeshi visas after Dhaka on Sunday stopped issuing on-arrival visas to Chinese.
A soccer team made up of Taiwan Power Co employees was also denied entry to Mongolia prior to their departure on Sunday for a tournament.
The ministry had not received any notice from Mongolia about banning Taiwanese visitors, but it has promised to adjust its immigration and customs procedure following the ministry’s efforts, Ou said.
In other developments, the American Institute in Taiwan’s Taipei Office posted a message on Facebook that the US government’s new quarantine measures for Chinese visitors do not apply to travelers who have only been in Taiwan.
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