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U.S. expresses dismay at China blocking Taiwan from attending WHA

ROC Central News Agency

2018/05/09 16:52:49

Washington, May 8 (CNA) The United States on Tuesday expressed dismay at China for blocking the World Health Organization (WHO) from inviting Taiwan to attend this year's meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the WHO's decision-making body.

"The United States strongly supports Taiwan participation as an observer in the World Health Assembly." "We are greatly dismayed that China has once again blocked Taiwan from receiving an invitation to attend," a U.S. State Department spokesperson said in an e-mail to CNA.

"We will continue to urge the World Health Organization to extend an invitation to Taiwan to attend this year's World Health Assembly as an observer."

"Taiwan is committed to global health security and has made important contributions to public health and development, and the United States believes that Taiwan should not be excluded from these critical discussions," the spokesperson said.

Taiwan did not receive an invitation from the WHO by the online registration deadline of 6 a.m. Tuesday morning Taiwan time to attend the annual WHA meeting, which is slated to kick off on May 21 in Geneva.

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday expressed regret that the nation has again been excluded from the annual meeting, after the registration deadline for the forum expired without Taiwan receiving an invitation.

Although it did not specifically mention China, which was behind Taiwan's exclusion from the meeting, the ministry noted that only a government democratically elected by Taiwan's people can be responsible for the health of its 23 million people.

The statement was meant to counter China's claim that Beijing can speak for Taiwan's people even if Taiwan is not invited to the WHA.

An Fengshan (安峰山), spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said in a statement Monday that Taiwan will not be allowed to attend the annual meeting because the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government refuses to recognize the "1992 consensus," which embodies the "one-China principle."

"The political foundation for Taiwan's participation in the WHA does not exist," An said.

Taiwan will be excluded from the WHA for a second straight year after being allowed to attend the WHA as an observer from 2009-2016 amid better relations with China during the previous administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

However, Beijing has taken a harder line against Taiwan and put increased pressure on it in the international community since Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office as president in May 2016, including using its influence to keep Taiwan out of the WHA in May 2017.

Tsai and the DPP refuse to accept the "1992 consensus" that underpinned ties with China when Ma was in office, because it implies China and Taiwan belong to the same country.

(By Chiang Chin-ye and Evelyn Kao)

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