MAC protests Beijing’s obstruction of Taiwan’s WHA participation

Taipei--Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has strongly protested China's obstruction of Taiwan's participation in the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA).

In a statement released Tuesday, the Cabinet agency accused Beijing of using "unilateral political reasons" to exert pressure on the World Health Organization (WHO) and block it from extending an invitation to Taiwan to attend this year's WHA, to be held in Geneva from May 22 to May 31.

"The Mainland Affairs Council expresses strong discontent and protests this suppression of our government in violation of the mission of the WHO as well as the rights and interests of Taiwan's 23 million people," the council said.

The MAC, the agency in Taiwan that coordinates China policy, made the statement after Taiwan had not received an invitation from the WHO by the May 8 deadline for online registration for the WHA meeting.

It said Beijing has been obstructing Taiwan's bids to take part in the International Civil Aviation Organization and the WHO in an attempt to exert pressure on the government to achieve political objectives.

"We will never succumb to Beijing's pressure but will continue to make our voice heard in the international community and fight for our right to participate in the WHA and other international organizations," the MAC said.

Noting that taking part in the WHA was highly anticipated by people in Taiwan, the council urged Beijing to carefully consider the consequences that were likely to result from the move and the possible damage it could cause cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

Taiwan first attended the WHA meeting as an observer in 2009, a year after the government of former President Ma Ying-jeou (???) came to power and pursued a more conciliatory policy toward Beijing.

Taiwan had taken part in every WHA meeting since then, until this year.

The exclusion is widely seen as the latest move by China to clamp down on Taiwan's international participation, a strategy that has become more aggressive since Tsai Ing-wen (???) of the Democratic Progressive Party, who is less conciliatory toward China, took power in May 2016.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel