April 16, 2020
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) expresses strong dissatisfaction over the World Health Organization Secretariat’s press conference on April 15, at which it responded to Taiwan’s efforts to participate in WHO by erroneously citing UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 and World Health Assembly Resolution 25.1 and misleadingly claiming that Taiwan and WHO share good and extensive interactions. MOFA again urges the WHO Secretariat to bear in mind the noble goal of Health for All, maintain a position of neutrality and professionalism, live up to its status as the leading international public health organization, and not become complicit in suppressing the health rights of the 23 million people of Taiwan.
MOFA stresses that UNGA Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1 only address the right to represent China and do not refer to Taiwan as part of China. These resolutions neither appropriately deal with the issue of the 23 million Taiwanese people’s participation in the UN and its specialized agencies, nor authorize the People’s Republic of China to represent Taiwan in the UN system. Indeed, they are not related to the Taiwanese people. Taiwan is a democratic nation widely commended by the international community. It enjoys full statehood and boasts an advanced and comprehensive healthcare system. Only the democratically elected government of Taiwan can represent Taiwan’s 23 million people in the international arena and assume responsibility for their health and welfare.
As the most important international professional public health organization, WHO has established numerous cooperation and exchange mechanisms and holds more than 1,000 meetings each year. With continuous robust support from friends in the international community, Taiwan’s involvement in WHO in recent years has slightly improved. However, WHO’s rigid and biased political considerations continue to greatly hamper Taiwan’s participation, limiting it to a level well below what Taiwan actually needs. The WHO Secretariat’s overgeneralizing statement does not represent the full facts. MOFA issued a press release on April 15 providing detailed information on the restrictions imposed on Taiwan’s interactions with WHO. It again calls on WHO to strengthen and improve exchanges and interactions with Taiwan.
With the rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) across the world, more and more countries have noted that Taiwan’s exclusion from WHO poses a regrettable risk to global health and safety. They also recognize that Taiwan’s participation could indeed contribute to WHO. This clearly demonstrates that Taiwan’s bid to play a professional, pragmatic, and constructive role in WHO has gained widespread international support. MOFA calls on WHO to squarely face the fact that Taiwan and China are separate jurisdictions, neither subordinate to the other. It also urges WHO to respond favorably to the international community’s strong appeal for Taiwan’s participation in the WHA as an observer, invite Taiwan to attend this year’s WHA, and ensure Taiwan’s comprehensive participation in WHO meetings, mechanisms, and activities. (E)