Taiwan’s voice should be heard in multilateral forums, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told his country’s House of Commons on Wednesday.
This was his government’s long-standing position, Trudeau added.
The prime minister made the comments when asked by Canadian shadow minister for foreign affairs Michael Chong (莊文浩) whether Ottawa supported Taiwan’s participation in the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) and the 41st assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Trudeau told Chong that Canada’s long-standing position was to support “Taiwan’s inclusion in multilateral forums [and] multilateral bodies to make sure that their perspective is heard.”
Despite Trudeau’s declaration of support, Canada did not sign a proposal by 13 other countries that Taiwan be invited to participate as an observer at the WHA, the annual decisionmaking forum of the WHO, which begins on Sunday in Geneva, Switzerland.
Taiwan was expelled from the WHO, the ICAO, and other UN specialized agencies after losing its seat at the UN in 1971.
From 2009 to 2016, when Taiwan was governed by the Beijing-friendly Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the WHO invited the nation to particpate as an observer in the WHA each year as “Chinese Taipei.”
The practice ended in 2016 when the Democratic Progressive Party assumed the government, as Beijing accused it of “conducting separatist acts on the international stage.”
Taiwan under the KMT was also invited to attend the ICAO assembly in 2013, as a “special guest” of the organization’s council president through a special arrangement involving China.
On Wednesday, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Canada, Taiwan’s representative office in Ottawa, expressed its gratitude to Trudeau for his support.
It is the third consecutive year that Trudeau has publicly endorsed Taiwan’s involvement in the WHA and the first time he has expressed public support for Taiwan’s bid to join the ICAO, whose assembly this year is to take place in Montreal in September, TECO said.
TECO also thanked the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Health for adopting a motion on April 27 supporting Taiwan’s full participation in the WHA; the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities for adopting a motion on May 5 supporting its full participation in the WHO; and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development for adopting a motion on May 16 supporting its full participation in the ICAO.
The committees and their motions are a testament to how like-minded partners have recognized the importance of Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, TECO said.
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