More countries call for Taiwan to join the World Health Assembly

Members of Congress in Mexico, Argentina and Chile issued appeals to the WHO

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General view of the 70th World Health Assembly in 2017.

General view of the 70th World Health Assembly in 2017. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Three more countries have joined the call for Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Friday (May 17) announced that according to recent news, members of Congress in Mexico, Argentina and Chile separately submitted written appeals to the World Health Organization (WHO) calling for Taiwan to be included in the WHA.

The 72nd WHA will commence next week in Geneva, Switzerland. Taiwan will be sidelined for the third year in a row as the WHO faces increasing pressure from China.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) addressed the matter in joint press conference Friday afternoon. Wu stressed that international support for Taiwan continues to grow as Chinese oppression increases.

Support for Taiwan’s participation in the WHA this year is more direct, more diverse and stronger than ever before, said Wu.

The minister pointed out that according to recent news, 10 members of the Argentine National Congress, 28 members of the Mexican Congress, and half of all Members of Congress in Chile cosigned separate letters to WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhano Ghebreyesus requesting the WHO to extend a WHA invitation to Taiwan.

The Czech Republic, Italy, Ecuador, Peru, Japan, Lithuania and many more countries have already signaled support for Taiwan’s participation in the WHA, Wu added. Members of the European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group also issued a letter of support to the WHO earlier this year.

The United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Canada, Australia, France and the European Union have all separately endorsed Taiwan joining the WHA, said Wu.

The written appeals stressed that the 23 million people of Taiwan are suffering from deprivation of their global health rights, according to MOFA, which is extremely unfair. Taiwan’s participation in WHO forums should not be subject to undue political interference, the letters said.

Additionally, former Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen was among six people that submitted a petition to the WHO saying Taiwan, as the world’s 22nd biggest economy, should not be excluded from crucial forums in the face of a raging Ebola epidemic which it is capable of assisting the fight against, the MOFA pointed out.

Taiwan enjoyed observer status at the WHA for eight years from 2009. It did not receive an invitation to the 2017 and 2018 forums due to China increasing its pressure on the WHO.