Taiwan Lobbies For Invitation To World Health Assembly, China Firmly Bars The Way 22/05/2017 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 3 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Taiwan will not be allowed to participate in the World Health Assembly (WHA) this year as an observer, the WHA has decided on its opening day. Some hours earlier today, Taiwan’s minister of health gave a press conference to denounce the fact that the country has not been invited by the World Health Organization, and saying that Taiwan needs the WHO, and the WHO needs Taiwan. Chen Shih-Chung, Taiwan’s Minister of Health and Welfare (right) A stone’s throw away from the Palais des Nations, headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, where the WHA is taking place, Chen Shih-Chung, Taiwan’s Minister of Health and Welfare addressed journalists. “Unfairly banned” from attending the WHA by mainland China, he underlined the inclusive mission of WHO in its attempt to ensure wellbeing for all. “No one should be excluded,” he said. Taiwan has many things to share about the successes of its national health care system, he insisted. Asked if Taiwanese journalists are still being excluded from the WHA, he said through his translator, “We are highly dissatisfied with regards to WHO’s decision to not issue passes for the media,” he said, adding that it is not only hurting the right of the press, but the right to health of all people. Answering a question on whether the policies of current Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen might have disrupted a special arrangement between China and Taiwan, Shih-Chung said all discussions around the WHA should be based on the right to health and not include a political dimension. In the meantime, a new agenda item [pdf] was added today to the WHA agenda: Inviting Taiwan to participate in the World Health Assembly as an observer. The following WHO members requested this new agenda item earlier this month: Belize, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Swaziland, and Tuvalu. However, the WHA followed its General Committee’s recommendation to delete this agenda item from the agenda. China gave a strong statement, saying that Taiwan is part of China, under the principle of “one China,” and the country had given its consent for Taiwan to be an observer at the WHA after a “special arrangement” between Taiwan and China. However, the current Democratic Progressive Party denied the “One China” principle, and thus the special arrangement did not hold. Saint Vincent and Grenadines and Palau supported the additional agenda item, while Cuba supported its deletion. The two supporters said Taiwan’s population of 23 million is left voiceless by the eviction of Taiwan from the deliberations of the WHA. Saint Vincent and Grenadines said the “world knows” that Taiwan has an autonomous government, its own flag and its own national anthem. Palau said Taiwan has one of the best health care systems in the world, with the latest technologies. “Why can’t we allow them to share their success story?” he asked. Taiwanese Non-Governmental Organisations in Geneva Chen Shih-Chung, in an article published by the Dailycaller, underlined the importance of including Taiwan in the context of global pandemic influenza. According to the article, “It is regrettable that political obstruction has resulted in Taiwan’s often being refused attendance at technical meetings of the WHO. This situation has created grave difficulties in Taiwan’s efforts to collaborate with the international community on disease prevention.” “Taiwan confirmed the world’s first human case of H6N1 avian influenza in 2013 and promptly shared genetic information on the virus with the international community,” Chen Shih-Chung said in the article. [Update:] United States Health Minister Tom Price today in remarks at the WHA expressed clear support for Taiwan’s participation. “We will work to enable all countries around the world to prevent, detect, respond to, mitigate, and control [infectious disease] outbreaks,” he said. “For that reason, we must express the United States’ disappointment that, contrary to the custom of the past eight years, an invitation was not extended to Taiwan to observe this year’s Assembly. The United States remains committed that Taiwan should not be excluded from WHO.” Image Credits: Catherine Saez Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."Taiwan Lobbies For Invitation To World Health Assembly, China Firmly Bars The Way" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.