Taiwanese government fires back at China over WHO exclusion

MOFA thanks French scholars, politicians for support, urges China to put human lives before politics

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MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou. 

MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After Beijing mocked French scholars and politicians for supporting Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization (WHO), the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday (April 7) that the Chinese government should not prioritize politics before human lives.

In an appeal titled "WHO must fully collaborate with Taiwan," which was published in the French news magazine L'Obs, more than 120 French parliamentarians and academics referred to Taiwan's management of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis as "admirable." They said the island nation deserved to be recognized for its efforts and admitted into the WHO.

The French signatories stressed that while Taiwan had done an exemplary job of containing the spread of the virus, it is still being excluded from the largest international health body. They added that Taiwan is currently the only country in the world that has centralized information gathering and decision-making within a cross-sector command: the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

The group urged the WHO to acknowledge Taiwan and allow it to join its meetings, asserting that the WHO needs Taiwan just as much as Taiwan needs the WHO.

On Monday (April 6), the Chinese representative office in France responded to the appeal by saying the statement exposed the signatories' lack of international knowledge. The office spokesman said it was laughable to suggest Taiwan should be recognized as a country when in reality, it is only a region of "mother China," reported UDN.

Addressing China's comments during a press briefing Tuesday, MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said the international community had started to notice Taiwan because of its successful coronavirus prevention and that China should cast politics aside amid the pandemic. She also expressed gratitude to the French group and promised that Taiwan will continue to share its experiences with the rest of the world, reported Liberty Times.