Taiwan’s minister of health to attend bilateral meetings during WHA

Despite exclusion from WHA, Taiwan’s minister of health and welfare will attend bilateral meetings during summit

Health minister departs for WHA in Geneva

(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--- Taiwan's Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) has arrived in Geneva last Saturday and will attend bilateral meetings during the World Health Assembly (WHA) despite the exclusion from the summit.

WHA will take place on May 22nd in Geneva, Switzerland and Taiwan has not been invited for the first time since 2009. Taiwan has been attending the meeting as observer in recent years and many believe that the exclusion results from political pressure the World Health Organization (WHO) received from China.

"It shows that to some, politics and their own needs matter more than basic human rights," said the minister.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is making arrangements for Taiwan to attend bilateral meetings outside of the assembly. Other events, including press conference, interviews and a "Taiwan Night" held by non-governmental organizations, are also scheduled.

In addition, 11 of Taiwan's diplomatic allies have submitted proposals to the WHO endorsing Taiwan attending the assembly as an observer. The issue regarding to Taiwan's participation is expected to be brought up during WHA.

Though Taiwan is barred from the meeting, countries without official diplomatic relations call for including Taiwan into the world health network. Canada, Japan, and the United States have openly shown their supports and the European Union stated that as long as it's under their One-China policy, the issue should be handled in a practical way.

"It's every country's responsibility to cooperate with one another for the sake of their citizens' health, and I believe that it is the international society's responsibility to make sure that Taiwan is not excluded from the global health system," said Chen.