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Three allies rally for Taiwan participation in WHO alongside US, Japan

Nicaragua, Guatemala and the Solomon Islands backed Taiwan's return to the World Health Assembly

This year's World Health Assembly Executive Board meeting is underway

This year's World Health Assembly Executive Board meeting is underway (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S., Japan and three diplomatic allies have expressed support for Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA) at a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting on Monday, CNA reports.

The 114th session of the World Health Organization’s Executive Board is being held from Jan. 24 to Feb. 1. Representatives from Nicaragua, Guatemala and the Solomon Islands voiced support for Taiwan on Monday alongside Japan and the U.S.

eSwatini, another diplomatic ally of Taiwan, currently presides on the 34-member Executive Board and also rallied for Taiwan’s WHA participation on Saturday alongside Haiti and Paraguay.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanked all eight states and their representatives for their backing.

Colin McIff, a U.S. health representative, told the board that Taiwan’s contribution of technical expertise would be beneficial to all.

Taiwan announced it would donate US$1 million to the WHO in May 2018 to help fight the ebola virus, but suspended the donation in December citing political reasons. McIff told the board that the U.S. was “pleased” at the state’s initial contribution offer but then “disappointed that so far the WHO has not found a way to accept the contribution.”

Although Japan’s representative Hiroyuki Hori did not mention Taiwan specifically, he told the board nobody ought to be left behind as the spread of infectious diseases becomes a trans-borderal issue that requires global cooperation.

Taiwan previously attended the WHA under observer status as “Chinese Taipei” but China began blocking its participation entirely in 2017.