Taiwan: The request of the government of Taiwan to participate in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual assembly was rejected on Monday (May 23), the assembly said, in a decision that comes after diplomatic pressure from China to isolate Taiwan.
In a statement, Ahmed Robleh Abdilleh, also Djibouti’s health minister, said that a proposal sent by 13 WHO members seeking Taiwan’s membership as an observer would not be included in the assembly’s official agenda.
Due to Beijing’s objections, Taiwan is excluded from most global groups. China maintains that Taiwan should not be treated as a sovereign state as it considers the island to be a province of its own.
Taiwan argues that, despite being allowed to attend some technical WHO meetings, its exclusion from the WHO is hindering efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Assembly president Abdilleh said the decision was made following a recommendation from the general committee, which discussed the proposal on Sunday in a closed-door meeting.
“There are no political or legal bases for Taiwan’s participation in WHA (World Health Assembly),” Chen Xu, China’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said shortly before the decision was announced.
“This political manipulation will only be met with opposition from all sides,” the ambassador further stated.
Thousands of delegates will attend this year’s assembly, including nearly 100 Chinese. Among the issues being discussed are changes to WHO funding.