Taiwan health minister disappointed about WHA

Minister Chen thanks friendly nations and promises continued efforts

Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (left). (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said upon his return to Taiwan Saturday that he was disappointed about the World Health Assembly’s refusal to allow the country to attend.

Over the previous nine years, Taiwan succeeded in participating in the annual meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, but this year, pressure from China was seen as instrumental in blocking attendance because of the Taiwan Independence leanings of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her Democratic Progressive Party.

Nevertheless, Minister Chen still traveled to Switzerland, where he handed a letter of protest to the World Health Organization, hosted international news conferences and held bilateral meetings with representatives of other countries.

In addition to the usual limited number of official Taiwanese allies, such as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, speaking up at the WHA in favor of the island’s attendance, even some major powers such as the United States and Germany also voiced support for Taiwan.

However, returning to the island Saturday noon, Chen told reporters he was nevertheless “very disappointed” that Taiwan had been unable to attend. He emphasized the country would continue its efforts and he thanked friendly nations for their support.

Chen expressed satisfaction about the fact that he had “made lots of friends” and that many allies and friendly countries had dared to speak out on Taiwan’s behalf. The U.S. had made a great effort, but pressure from China had made the situation very difficult for Taiwan, the minister said.

Without providing details, Chen said the government would draw up plans for future WHA meetings, with many directions possible.