Taiwan bidding to take part in World Health Assembly

Taipei--Foreign Minister David Lee (???) said Wednesday that Taiwan is communicating with the World Health Assembly (WHA) to seek the chance to take part in its annual conference.

Faced with pressure from China, Lee said there has been no news from the WHA, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, on an invitation to the conference scheduled to take place in Geneva May 22-31.

"The situation leaves us no room for optimism, but we will not be pessimistic and will do everything possible to take part in the meeting," Lee said at the Legislature.

When asked whether, if this year's invitation will contain a reference to Beijing's "one China principle," will the government still send representatives to attend, he said that "I think our government will find that hard to accept."

But he said later that the issue is not for him alone to decide but will require inter-agency discussions. He added that his ministry will provide suggestions.

Lee also said that invitations from the WHA usually come at the end of April, but if Taiwan still has not received one by that time, it will have contingency measures.

Taiwan has attended the annual WHA as an observer under the name of "Chinese Taipei" since 2009.

When the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party replaced the China-friendly Kuomintang to take the reins of the government in May 2016, Taiwan received a late invitation, on May 6, to attend the WHA that year.

But the invitation contained an unexpected reference in United Nations Resolution No. 2758, passed on October 25, 1971, which recognizes the People's Republic of China as "the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations" and expelled the representatives of the Republic of China.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel