EU voices support for Taiwan’s participation in WHA

Brussels, May 8 (CNA) The 28-member European Union (EU) on Tuesday voiced support for Taiwan's participation in the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting.

Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for the EU's Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, told CNA that the support for Taiwan's participation in the international arena is line with the EU's policy.

"The European Union, generally speaking, supports practical solutions regarding Taiwan's participation in international frameworks," including the WHA and World Health Organization (WHO) Kocijancic said when asked by CNA about Taiwan's exclusion from this year's WHA annual meeting.

"This is in line with our one-China policy and in line with our general policy objectives," she said.

Kocijancic said the EU believes that Taiwan's participation would also be welcome in some "technical meetings."

Taiwan was excluded from this year's WHA meeting after it did not receive an invitation to attend by the online registration deadline of 6 a.m. Tuesday morning Taiwan time.

Taiwan did not get an invitation, which is necessary to complete registration procedures, because of Chinese pressure on the WHO.

It will be the second year in a row that Taiwan has failed to obtain an invitation to the WHA, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, which will hold its 71st session this year from May 21 to 26 in Geneva.

Kocijancic's comments came after a statement issued by the EU on May 1 supporting Taiwan's participation in the WHA meeting and saying it was in the interest of the organization's 28 members and the world.

It was rare for an EU official to talk to the press to express the organization's support for Taiwan's participation in the WHA.

Kocijancic said the EU, which currently runs an office in Taiwan, already cooperates with Taiwan in a wide range of economic areas, indicating the EU and Taiwan have already forged close ties with each other.

Despite the exclusion from the upcoming WHA meeting, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (???) will head a delegation to Geneva and meet with other delegations at and around the WHA meeting as he did last year.

Taiwan attended the WHA as an observer under the name Chinese Taipei from 2009 to 2016 with the help of the U.S. amid better relations with China during the previous Kuomintang (KMT) administration.

In 2017, China blocked the WHO's invitation to Taiwan to attend the WHA as it began adopting a hardline stance on cross-Taiwan Strait relations after Presient Tsai Ing-wen (???) of the Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016.

Taiwan had hoped to attend the 2017 WHA in Geneva as an observer, as it had done the previous eight years, but it did not receive an invitation from the WHO because of opposition from China.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel