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European lawmakers issue joint letter calling for Taiwan's inclusion in WHO

22 members of European Parliament recognize Taiwan’s coronavirus response, bolster its case for WHO participation

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Reinhard Butikofer shares joint letter on website. (reinhardbuetikofer.eu screenshot)

Reinhard Butikofer shares joint letter on website. (reinhardbuetikofer.eu screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — German Green Party lawmaker Reinhard Butikofer on Thursday (April 23) invited Taiwanese Representative to the European Union (EU) Tseng Ho-jen (曾厚仁) to a virtual meeting to share the island nation's experience in handling the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The meeting was hosted by Butikofer, who also chairs the European Parliament's delegation for relations with China, and fellow German lawmaker Jutta Paulus. The duo expressed interest in learning how Taiwan has managed to contain the spread of the virus as successfully as it has and praised the country for its swift response to the global crisis.

In the meeting, Tseng explained that Taiwan had warned the World Health Organization (WHO) about human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus on Dec. 31 — a warning it fatefully ignored — and that the country had also established a face mask rationing system to ensure every citizen would receive proper protection.

He also said the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has played a critical role in helping convey pandemic-related information to the public and that the government is quarantining all citizens returning from abroad, reported ETtoday.

During the one-hour meeting, Butikofer also mentioned that he and the other 21 members of the European Parliament have sent a joint letter to EU Vice President Josep Borrell regarding Taiwan's exclusion from the WHO. He emphasized that Taiwan is known for its high-quality healthcare system and that the EU should fully support the country's participation in global conversations.

The letter pointed out that the WHO has "refused to integrate" Taiwan into the global battle against the pandemic despite its effective approach to limiting infections. It added that China's political influence has been prioritized over the health and safety of people around the world and that the international health body should at least grant Taiwan's participation via "programmatic workarounds."

The letter went on to say that Taiwan's involvement in the WHO would be advantageous to the world, and it called on the EU to take practical measures to "push for a protocol" for Taiwan to join the pandemic fight as well as provide insights to use in future health crisis. The lawmakers also advocated the EU's collaboration with Taiwan to increase its efficiency in dealing with the virus.

The letter has been posted on Butikofer's website, along with Taiwan's national flag, reported CNA.

European lawmakers issue joint letter calling for Taiwan's inclusion in WHO
Tseng Ho-jen (bottom left) shares experiences with German lawmakers Reinhard Butikofer (bottom right) and Jutta Paulus. (CNA photo)