TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – For the first time, Japan’s Foreign Minister, Taro Kono, openly supported Taiwan’s bid to attend the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva later this month.
China has succeeded in blocking the island’s attempts to give presence at the annual World Health Organization (WHO) event for three years running, but both allies and countries with warm unofficial relations with Taiwan have expressed their support for its bid.
In a tweet Wednesday (May 8), Kono said that amid the trend of globalization, no empty space should be left on the map of areas fighting contagious diseases, so Japan supported Taiwan being allowed to attend WHA as an observer, the Liberty Times reported.
The previous two years, Japan only mentioned no “particular areas” should be left out, but this year it specifically named Taiwan for the first time.
While online registration for WHA ended on May 6, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) nevertheless reconfirmed he would travel to Switzerland with a delegation to meet other countries’ representatives in the margin of the May 20-28 global event.
Earlier, Chen said he had prepared a speech about the main topic on the WHA agenda, universal health coverage.
In March, a WHO spokesperson told the Taiwanese media that if there was no “cross-strait understanding,” Taiwan would not receive “an entrance ticket” to the WHA.