TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In response to the Chinese ambassador's complaints about New Zealand's support of Taiwan's membership in the World Health Organization, New Zealand's foreign minister on Thursday (May 7) told her to "Listen to your master."
On Tuesday (May 5), New Zealand's Foreign Minister Winston Peters was asked by the media if he supported Taiwan's rejoining the WHO given that Australia and the U.S. are now in favor of this. Peters responded by saying, "I always have, personally. You've got to have every organization in the world in the WHO if it's to have any meaning," reported the New Zealand Herald.
In response, China's ambassador to New Zealand, Wu Xi, issued a statement that read: "There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is part of China," reported NewstalkZB. Based on the spurious claim that Taiwan is part of communist China, Wu then concluded that the island is ineligible to become a member of the global health body.
Wu claimed New Zealand has adhered to a "longstanding one China policy," further stating that "[China hopes] New Zealand will continue to abide by this principle, properly handle issues related to Taiwan and uphold the sound development of China-NZ relations with concrete actions."
When asked by reporters on Thursday to comment on the embassy's statement, Peters simply said: "Listen to your master," according to the New Zealand Herald. Peters said Wu's words differed from what Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had relayed to him before: "[He] assured me that China does not behave that way."
Wu claimed that Peters' backing of Taiwan's push for a seat at the WHO was his "personal" position. However, Peters on Thursday confirmed to the media that the New Zealand government is now officially supporting Taiwan's participation.