Taiwan to send delegation to WHA even if China blocks invitation

Health and Welfare Minister to travel to Geneva for May event

The annual World Health Assembly in Geneva.

The annual World Health Assembly in Geneva. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – As May’s World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva is approaching, China might once again prevent Taiwan from receiving an invitation, but the Ministry of Health and Welfare is nevertheless still planning to send a delegation.

The annual event will take place from May 20 to 28, and as usual, Taiwan will seek to attend. However, as the previous two years the island was not invited, there was a strong likelihood that the World Health Organization (WHO) secretariat would once again fail to send an invitation letter, reports said Friday.

A WHO spokesperson reportedly e-mailed the Taiwanese media to say that if there was no “cross-strait understanding,” Taiwan would not receive “an entrance ticket” to the WHA.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare said that work to achieve attendance was proceeding as usual, and that Taiwan was hoping other countries and organizations would support its bid.

If necessary, the ministry might register a protest against the WHO spokesperson’s comments, the Central News Agency reported.

As on previous occasions, Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) was planning to lead a team to Geneva and hold talks with WHA delegations outside the main venue. Taiwan has emphasized that due to its experience and international work, the island country was a key element in global healthcare, its absence detrimental both to the international community and to its own citizens.