Taiwan begins diplomatic press to join the 2018 World Health Assembly

TECO offices around the world release statement encouraging allies and partners to support Taiwan's bid to join the WHO

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices (TECO) around the world are coordinating a diplomatic campaign to lobby for international support with the aim of securing an official invitation to participate in the 2018 World Health Assembly.

In a press release made public on Feb. 15, Taiwan is calling on its allies and supporters across the globe to help persuade the WHO into accepting Taiwan into the organization.

The statement emphasizes that it is not only in the interest of Taiwan’s population of over 23 million people see their country admitted to the international organization, but that it is in the interest of regional health security and international cooperation as well.

The release rightly notes that “because Taiwan is unable to attend the WHA and is excluded from full participation in related WHO technical meetings, mechanisms, and activities, it is only after much delay—compared to WHO members—that Taiwan can acquire disease and medical information, which is mostly incomplete. This creates serious gaps in the global health security system and threatens people’s right to health.”

And further, “Given that Taiwan is the world’s 18th-largest exporter and importer, its exclusion from the international health system poses a threat to global food safety.”

The report notes that with Taiwan’s well developed medical infrastructure and experience in dealing with food and health safety issues, especially noting instances of outbreak of communicable diseases like SARS in the early 2000s, that Taiwan would be a capable and experienced partner in promoting global health.

The World Health Assembly in 2018 is scheduled for May 21-26 in Geneva, Switzerland.

A copy of the official press release was released on Scoop World News, Thursday Feb. 15.