TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Thursday (Jan. 30) thanked the leaders of Japan and Canada for supporting Taiwan's inclusion in the World Health Organization (WHO), as infections of the China coronavirus continue to accelerate globally.
On Thursday, both Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed their support for Taiwan's inclusion in the WHO while speaking in their respective legislative bodies. In response, MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) issued separate statements thanking both countries for their support of Taiwan's participation in the organization in this time of crisis.
At a meeting of the National Councilors in the upper house of Japan's National Diet on Thursday morning, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, "It is necessary for Taiwan to join the WHO. Under the premise of epidemic prevention and public health policies, 'political stances' should be overruled. Otherwise, maintaining the health of the entire region and further preventing the spread of infection will become a difficult problem."
In response on behalf of Taiwan, Ou expressed sincere thanks to Abe and the Japanese government for supporting Taiwan's participation in the WHO and for Japan's firm friendship with Taiwan, reported CNA. She added that "Taiwan is looking forward to deepening the exchange of information and funds to deal with the outbreak, as well as cooperation on epidemic prevention with Japan."
During an interpellation in the Canadian parliament on Wednesday, Conservative Party member Michael Cooper deliberately spelled out "T-a-i-w-a-n" and added, "This is a question about Taiwan!" He said the health and safety of Canadians rely on an effectively coordinated international response to the coronavirus and pointed out that Taiwan had previously confirmed five cases (now nine).
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded by reading from a prepared statement:
"Yes Mr. Speaker, as we did during the time of the SARS virus, we support Taiwan's meaningful participation in international multilateral forums. Especially when its presence provides important contributions to the global public good. We believe that Taiwan's role as an observer in World Health Assembly meetings is in the best interest of the international health community and also is an important partner in the fight against this epidemic."
Ou responded by saying "At a time when the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan has attracted international attention, Canada's prime minister has responded positively to Taiwan's legitimate, reasonable, professional, and pragmatic demands, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its gratitude," reported CNA. Ou pointed out that the Canadian government has publicly supported Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organizations such as the WHO and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on many occasions.
In addition to expressing sincere thanks for Canada's backing the nation's participation in the WHO, Ou added, "Taiwan hopes that both sides can continue to cooperate and deepen mutually beneficial and friendly partnerships in various fields."