TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — New Zealand's Foreign Minister Winston Peters on Tuesday (May 5) brushed off Beijing and publicly backed Taiwan's membership in the World Health Organization (WHO).
While meeting with the press outside of New Zealand's Parliament, Peters was asked if he supported Taiwan rejoining the WHO given that Australia and the U.S. are now in favor of its participation. Peters responded by saying, "I always have, personally. You've got to have every organisation in the world in the WHO if it's to have any meaning," reported the New Zealand Herald.
Peters went on to say that he has supported Taiwan's accession to the WHO for 30 years. "In the interests on international health, you want every country in an international organization designed to improve the world's health. It's just logic," said Peters.
That same day, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) issued a press release to express sincere thanks for Peters' firm support. The foreign ministry said that Taiwan attaches great importance to its friendship with New Zealand's government and all of its citizens as well as "the universal values of freedom, democracy and human rights shared by both sides."
The ministry pledged that in the future, Taiwan would continue to expand exchanges and cooperation with New Zealand in various fields, such as economy, trade, and culture. However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ducked the question over her country's support for Taiwan's inclusion in the WHO, despite the fact that she acknowledged the nation has followed Taiwan's model when dealing with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.