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Swedish parliament backs Taiwan's inclusion in World Health Assembly

Sweden-Taiwan Parliamentarian Association holds conference on Taiwan's WHA participation

World Health Assembly sign.

World Health Assembly sign. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Sweden-Taiwan Parliamentarian Association (STPA) held a symposium emphasizing the importance of supporting Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA) on Wednesday (April 19).

The conference was hosted by Boriana Aberg, the STPA chair, and invited Niklas Swanstrom, director of the Stockholm-based Institute for Security and Development Policy; Birger Forsberg, professor of public health science at Karolinska Institute; and Klement Ruey-sheng Gu (谷瑞生), Taiwan’s representative to Sweden, to speak, CNA reported.

Aberg said that Taiwan should undoubtedly be invited to participate in the global health meeting and said she will continue to unconditionally support and promote Taiwan's participation.

Swanstrom said that health care is a basic human rights issue and called on the Swedish government and the EU president to lead and coordinate EU member states to support Taiwan. Taiwan's participation in the WHA as an observer has nothing to do with political status, he said.

Although Taiwan is not a member state of the U.N., it can still be a member of the World Health Organization, he added.

Forsberg pointed out that if a country's public health level is measured by three indicators, including life expectancy, per capita income, and neonatal mortality rate, Taiwan's public health ranks among the best in the world.

Gu said that China continues to bully Taiwan, including blocking it from participating in the WHA. This prevents Taiwan from being included in the International Health Regulations contact network and the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System.

Gu said he hoped that Sweden would publicly support Taiwan's participation at the upcoming WHA, just as the U.S., Japan, Britain, France, Germany, and other countries did last year.

The 76th WHA will be held from May 21-30 in Geneva, Switzerland and is centered on, “Saving lives, driving health for all.”