The world is preparing for the first World Health Assembly after the dreaded year of pandemic. The 74 th assembly is planned to be held virtually from Geneva from May 24 to June 1. One striking difference from the regular WHA is the presence of Taiwan at the invitation of the USA.
The Invitation to Taiwan
The main contention to Taiwan’s presence on world forums has been the reluctance of China. China asserts its sovereignty on the island nation of Taiwan. As a result, China does not accept the presence of Taiwan as a separate political entity.
Earlier, the US asked the World Health Organization to invite Taiwan to participate at the upcoming annual meeting of WHA. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s presence will be as an observer. In asking so the US stated the lack of “any reasonable justification” for Taipei’s continued exclusion from the forum. It should be noted that Taiwan could not attend the WHA due to objections by the People’s Republic of China.
Secretary Blinken asserted that the discussions of global health and challenges are not restricted to borders and these do not take care of political disputes. He further said that its impossible to neglect Taiwan in issue of health. Given, Taiwan’s valuable contributions to the world health, USA thinks excluding the interest of 24 million people is not in favor of world health.
Reaction to Invitation
Meanwhile, the Taiwanese government thanked US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. This came in response to Washington’s extended support for Taipei’s bid at the World Health Assembly. The WHA acts as the primary decision-making body of the World Health Organisation.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that excluding a “vibrant democracy” while jeopardizing global health is wrong, especially at the behest of China.
It should be noted that the Chinese government has repeatedly been blocking Taiwan,s representation at any world forum. This has been a feature after the election of Tsai Ing-wen as Taiwan’s president. While, China did not block the island nation when the relations were cordial, its worth noting how the government of the People’s Republic of China reacts to the latest development.
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