MOFA decries decision to bar Taiwanese media from WHA meeting

Taipei--The World Health Organization (WHO) has violated its own principles by denying Taiwanese journalists access to its upcoming assembly, Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Chih-chung (???) said Monday.

The decision is contrary to the WHO Constitution, which states that "the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition," Wu told reporters.

"We hold different political beliefs from China, and the WHO needs to consider its own credibility when making such decisions," he said.

The World Health Assembly, the decision making body of the WHO, is scheduled to hold its annual meeting May 22-31 in Geneva.

Taiwan had been hoping to attend the event as an observer, as it had been doing since 2009, but did not receive an invitation this year.

Taiwan's exclusion this year is widely seen as the latest move by China to clamp down on Taiwan's international participation. Requests by Taiwan media representatives to cover the meeting have also been turned down this year.

Alessandra Vellucci, director of the United Nations Information Service in Geneva, reportedly said that only journalists from U.N.-recognized countries will be given accreditation to cover the WHA.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel