Taiwan's foreign ministry calls China 'evil' for blocking country's inclusion in WHO

The UN's health agency continues to regard Taiwan as part of China

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WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday (Feb. 4) slammed China’s obstruction of Taiwan’s inclusion in the World Health Organization (WHO) as “evil.”

The harshly-worded statement from the island country’s foreign ministry came in response to comments made by its Chinese counterpart the day before. Hua Chunying (華春瑩), spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said during a press briefing that Taiwan’s participation in international organizations such as the WHO should be “arranged under the one-China principle and through negotiations between both sides of the Taiwan Strait.” Hua also claimed that Taiwan had been able to exchange instant information with the WHO regarding the latest global health issues.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said China’s attempts to prevent Taiwan from taking part in the WHO amid the escalation of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, which started in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December, had fully demonstrated the country’s “evil nature.” It described Beijing’s insistence on imposing its “one-China principle” as a prerequisite for Taiwan to participate in global affairs as an act of “political blackmail.”

Taiwanese health authorities currently report the country’s medical and health status, including coronavirus-related cases, to the WHO through the International Health Regulations. However, the country has been prevented from convening with other countries in the WHO’s emergency meetings regarding the coronavirus outbreak in China.

According to the ministry, the WHO, due to pressure from Beijing, has been reluctant to share coronavirus-related information with Taiwan. The ministry also said some countries had imposed travel restrictions on Taiwan based on the WHO’s assessment of the spread of the virus, which included Taiwan as part of China, consequently compromising the interests of the Taiwanese people.

The ministry called on the international community to support Taiwan’s participation in international organizations and global affairs. Allies of the island nation have reportedly spoken in favor of Taiwan’s inclusion this week at the WHO’s executive board meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland, in which the Chinese envoy, Li Song, claimed there was no need for Taiwan to join the agency as bilateral communication remained smooth.