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Taiwan awaits invitation to World Health Assembly

WHO spokesman says observer status for Taiwan matter for all 194 members to decide

World Health Assembly opens on May 24.

World Health Assembly opens on May 24. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Despite having earned widespread praise for its success fighting COVID-19, Taiwan is still waiting for its invitation to attend the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) later this month.

This year’s edition of the World Health Organization (WHO) event opens in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 24 and lasts until June 1. Letters of invitation to members and observers were sent out in early April, but Taiwan has yet to receive one, CNA reported.

The tide of international support for Taiwan’s efforts to attend as an observer has been rising, with more governments, legislators, and prominent medical figures backing the country’s bid due to its performance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Taiwan’s status is an issue that should be considered and decided by all 194 members of the organization, WHO Spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told CNA. A simple majority in favor of a resolution or invitation would suffice, he added.

There are still 10 days until the deadline to register for this year’s WHA, but the spokesman’s comments show that Taiwan is again unlikely to be invited. After the pandemic broke out, pressure to allow the country to attend mounted, but WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus rejected such calls, saying there was a need for “cross-strait understanding” with China first.

Updated : 2021-07-30 08:23 GMT+08:00