18 countries speak up for Taiwan at WHA

A total of 18 countries have expressed support for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA), currently in its third day in Geneva. The WHA is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization. After several years attending as an observer, Taiwan was not invited to this year's WHA due to obstruction from China.

In addition to the United States, Germany, Australia, Burkina Faso and Honduras, another 13 countries have spoken up for Taiwan at the assembly.

Japan's representative, Seisi Baba, said a globalized world is prone to epidemics such as the Ebola outbreak in recent years. Baba said all should have ways of coping with sudden outbreaks and the inclusion of different health systems should be strengthened. He said no specific region should be excluded from the world health body, thus creating a regional void. He voiced support for Taiwan's participation in the WHA.

The representative from Swaziland, Sibongile Ndlela-Simelane, expressed gratitude for Taiwan's continued aid to the country, a diplomatic ally. She lamented the fact that Taiwan was not invited to this year's WHA and hopes that the WHO can extend an invitation to Taiwan to the assembly.

The Paraguayan representative, Aqueda Cabello, praised Taiwan for its contribution to the WHO. Cabello expressed strong hope that next year Taiwan will once again be invited to the WHA.

Other representatives from diplomatic allies including El Salvador, the Solomon Islands, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Nauru, Palau, Haiti, the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and St Vincent and the Grenadines also voiced support for Taiwan's participation in the WHA as an observer.

However, the representative from China protested, saying that Taiwan must abide by Beijing's One China policy if it is to take part in the WHA.

Source: Radio Taiwan International