Geneva: Taiwan faced a setback on Monday as its bid to participate in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual assembly was rejected, despite claims of growing support for its inclusion. The decision was made during the Geneva conference, which spans from May 21 to May 30. China and Pakistan actively campaigned against Taiwan’s involvement, while eSwatini and the Marshall Islands voiced their support.
China maintains that Taiwan is not an independent country but a part of “one China” under its governance, asserting sovereignty over the island. Consequently, Taiwan is excluded from numerous international organizations due to China’s stance. Taiwan strongly criticized the WHO’s decision, condemning China for obstructing its participation in global bodies and emphasizing that Beijing has no authority to represent the island.
According to Taiwan’s foreign ministry, only the democratically elected government of Taiwan can advocate for the health and human rights of its 23 million citizens within the WHO and other international organizations. Taiwan referred to China’s actions as “contemptible” and stressed that its exclusion impedes global efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
China, on the other hand, welcomed the outcome, asserting that it demonstrates the international community’s support for the “one-China” principle. The Chinese foreign ministry stated that nearly 100 countries expressed their adherence to the one-China principle and opposed Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly through letters and statements sent to the WHO prior to the conference.
Additionally, China called on certain countries to cease politicizing health matters and interfering in its internal affairs under the pretext of the Taiwan issue. China urged an end to the erroneous practice of using Taiwan to manipulate its own governance.
While Taiwan is allowed to attend certain technical meetings within the WHO, its exclusion from the main assembly hampers its efforts in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims and asserts that the future of the island should be determined solely by the Taiwanese people.