Taiwan’s bid to attend the World Health Organization’s annual assembly was rejected on Monday, the assembly said, after a diplomatic pressure campaign by China to isolate the island, which it considers a one of its own provinces.
World Health Assembly (WHA) President Ahmed Robleh Abdilleh, who is also Djibouti’s health minister, said in a statement that a proposal sent by 13 WHO members asking Taiwan to join in as an observer would not be included in its official agenda.
Taiwan is excluded from most global groups due to Beijing’s objections. China insists that Taiwan should not be treated as an independent country as it regards the island as a province in its own right.
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Assembly President Abdilleh said the decision followed a recommendation from the General Committee which discussed the proposal on Sunday in a closed meeting.
“The political and legal basis for Taiwan’s participation in the WHA ceases to exist,” Chen Xu, China’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, told the assembly shortly before the decision. “This political manipulation will only be met with opposition from all parties.”
However, the United States and Britain have shown support for Taiwan’s inclusion.
Loyce Pace, U.S. envoy to the assembly, said Taiwan has been a critical partner contributing constructively to global health and that the United States “deeply regrets” its exclusion from attending the assembly as a observer.
This year’s assembly, joined by thousands of delegates including nearly 100 from China, will discuss key reforms such as changes to WHO funding.
China began blocking Taiwan’s participation in the WHA from 2017, marking the end of a period of warmer relations between Beijing and Taipei.
Taiwan last week expressed “displeasure and regret” over the World Health Organization’s refusal to invite it to attend the assembly, amid diplomatic pressure from China to isolate the island.
(Edited by : Anand Singha)