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WHO chief must apologize for accusations against Taiwan: MOFA

ROC Central News Agency

04/09/2020 12:05 PM

Taipei, April 9 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Thursday criticized "baseless" claims by World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus that Taiwan is behind a campaign of personal attacks against him and demanded an apology from him.

In a press briefing Wednesday, Tedros said he has been the victim of racially-motivated attacks emanating out of Taiwan and said Taiwan's foreign ministry, rather than disavowing the attacks, had stepped up its personal criticisms of him.

On Thursday, MOFA issued a press release demanding a retraction of the comments, which it called "utterly baseless."

In an English-language Twitter thread, the ministry countered that the WHO has "mislabeled and outright ignored" legitimate enquiries about Taiwan, due to its exclusion from the public health agency, which is affiliated to the United Nations.

"But the government of Taiwan has in no way condoned nor encouraged any personal attacks on Dr. Tedros. It's always believed in Health for All and continues seeking full cooperation with the WHO to share Taiwan's response to the coronavirus with the international community," MOFA said.

Taiwan's exclusion from the WHO has become a major point of contention during the COVID-19 conovirus pandemic, as the government has called for public health to be put above political considerations.

The WHO, meanwhile, has said that Taiwanese experts are participating in the organization's response efforts and are accessing its information, albeit in an unofficial capacity.

Taiwan participated in the WHO's policy-setting body -- the World Health Assembly -- as an observer from 2009-2016 under the designation "Chinese Taipei," when relations between Beijing and Taipei were better under Taiwan's previous Kuomintang ruling party, which accepts the concept that the two sides are part of one China, with each side free to interpret what that means.

Since 2017, however, Taiwan has been excluded from the body due to opposition from China, which objects to Taiwan's current ruling Democratic Progressive Party's rejection of that concept.

(By Chen Yun-yu and Matthew Mazzetta)


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