Taiwan regrets exclusion from World Health Assembly

Taipei--Taiwan on Tuesday denounced its exclusion from this year's World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting, saying it goes against the purpose of the World Health Organization (WHO) and will have an negative impact on global efforts in disease prevention.

In a statement, the Presidential Office expressed "deep regret and dissatisfaction" over the fact that no invitation was issued for Taiwan to attend the annual WHA meeting that will open in Geneva on May 22.

The deadline for the event's online registration expired at 6 a.m. Tuesday Taiwan time, and Taiwan was unable to register by the deadline because of the lack of an invitation.

In the statement, the Presidential Office urged the WHO to take Taiwan seriously as a participant in the global fight against disease and address the health rights that the 23 million people of Taiwan are entitled to and the appeals of countries in various regions and international health organizations.

The office said the WHO exists for the health and welfare of every citizen of the world and that, with Taiwan a member of the international community, its people have a right to take part in health-related activities, including the WHA.

It said Taiwan should continue to expand its contributions to global health and disease prevention instead of becoming a missing link in the world's efforts in combating disease.

"Any actions to exclude and even suppress Taiwan not only go against the purpose of the WHO and is unfair to the people of Taiwan but will also bring an unforeseeable negative impact on global efforts in disease prevention," it said.

The Presidential Office thanked the United States, Japan and like-minded allies and countries in Europe and international groups that have provided support and assistance in Taiwan's efforts to take part in the upcoming WHA session.

It did not specifically mention China, which was behind Taiwan's exclusion from the meeting.

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 was 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