Taiwan’s health minister says WHO needs Taiwan

Geneva--Taiwan's top health official said Taiwan is important to the World Health Assembly (WHA) and described it as unjust for Taiwan to be excluded from the annual conference of the WHA, which opened in Geneva on Monday.

Speaking at an international press conference to call attention to Taiwan's exclusion, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (???) said Taiwan wanted to share its health care experience at the annual meeting but was unfairly excluded because of China's obstruction.

He argued that the aim of the United Nations was to change the world and enhance the welfare of all people, and no one should be excluded.

Taiwan, he said, had plenty of experience worth sharing at the WHA, including in operating a sound national health insurance system and providing high-quality medical care.

"Taiwan needs the WHO, and the WHO needs Taiwan, too," Chen said.

The WHA is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO) and meets every year in Geneva in May.

A reporter with the Associated Press asked about China's contention that it was President Tsai Ing-wen's (???) policy, which is less conciliatory to China, that has led to Taiwan's exclusion.

Citing China as also saying that the Tsai administration has not respected the special arrangement between the two sides in the past, the reporter asked what Taiwan would do to improve bilateral ties to ensure its participation in the WHA in the future.

Chen noted that President Tsai has not made any changes to the status quo since taking office.

He said he was also "disappointed" to see China make the statement it did a day earlier and wondered if "we are here today to talk about politics or health."

Asked if he plans to meet with China's representative at the meeting, Li Bin (??), Chen said no such arrangements had been made so far.

"But if the chance arises to extend a friendly handshake, I will not refuse," he said.

"We are here to make friends, and prepare for the future. We have opened our arms to fulfill our responsibility to society, and we hope that the world can accept us," he said.

Later Monday, Chen said a letter has been submitted to the WHA protesting Taiwan's exclusion, citing the United Nations Charter and Taiwan's contribution to the world.

"We expressed our dissatisfaction and disappointment," he said when speaking to domestic media in a conference call.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel