TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) will leave for the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland, late Friday night, despite the absence of an official invitation.
As expected, pressure from China led to the World Health Organization (WHO), which holds the annual WHA, not paying any attention to Taiwan’s requests to contribute to global health efforts.
When it became clear that Taiwan would not be invited, government leaders said that they would still send a delegation for bilateral meetings with representatives from other countries and to bring the country’s case under the attention of the global community.
Chen’s delegation will leave Taiwan late on Friday night May 18, the Central News Agency reported Wednesday. The group will closely cooperate with Taiwanese medical and professional organizations and hold seminars and discussions about health issues.
The minister rejected Chinese accusations that Taiwan was playing “the victim card,” saying that instead he wanted to play “the anger card” and tell the world that Taiwan wanted to contribute to its health.
If he met WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Chen said he would ask him to accept the concept of “Universal Health Care” and ask him why Taiwan’s 23 million inhabitants were being left out, CNA reported.
The WHA takes place from May 21 through May 26 this year, with several major nations, including the United States and Japan, already having voiced support for Taiwan to be allowed in as an observer at the event.