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Taiwan denies planning new global health organization with US

Presidential Office dismisses Japanese report alleging Taiwan-US plan for WHO alternative

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U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar escorted by police cars. 

U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar escorted by police cars.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Presidential Office on Monday (Aug. 10) denied a Japanese media report suggesting it is in the process of planning a new agency with the U.S. to supplant the World Health Organization (WHO).

In light of U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar's arrival in Taiwan Sunday (Aug. 9), Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun reported that the American official will meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to discuss the possibility of launching a new global health organization. The report also pointed out that Azar will discuss coronavirus countermeasures with the country's leading health officials, including Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中).

The article said Azar had been a strong advocate for Taiwan's participation at the WHO's annual World Health Assembly in May, before the U.S. announced it was officially withdrawing from the WHO. Sankei Shimbun added that the concept for a new health body would be brought up during Azar's meeting with Tsai since both countries are in need of an alternative to safeguard the health of their people.

However, the Presidential Office dismissed the report as a rumor Monday morning and stressed that no topics related to the formation of a new health agency will be discussed during the meeting. It emphasized that the main focus will be the enhancement of bilateral medical cooperation as well as potential ways to share the "Taiwan Model" to combat COVID-19 around the world, reported CNA.