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Iran Press TV

China slams Taiwan 'venomous' attack on WHO as US takes side with Taipei in coronavirus row

Iran Press TV

Friday, 10 April 2020 9:25 AM

China and the United State have clashed again over Taiwan as Beijing joined the World Health Organization (WHO) in a row over the coronavirus outbreak, but Washington took sides with the self-ruled island.

China accused Taiwan of "venomously" attacking the World Health Organization (WHO) after WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Taiwanese leaders spread racist comments against him.

Ghebreyesus said he had been subjected to racist comments and death threats for the past two or three months.

"Three months ago, this attack came from Taiwan," Tedros told reporters in Geneva, referring to online criticism and insults.

"Taiwan, the foreign ministry also, they know the campaign. They didn't disassociate themselves. They even started criticizing me in the middle of all that insult and slur, but I didn't care," he added.

Taiwan, which is claimed by China, has been excluded from the United Nations health agency, due to Beijing's objections.

Taiwan has accused the WHO of denying timely access to vital information as the coronavirus spread across the world. The WHO, however, denies the accusation.

In a statement late Thursday, China's Taiwan Affairs Office said the authorities in Taiwan are "unscrupulously using the virus to seek independence."

"We strongly condemn" Taipei for "venomously attacking the WHO," said the office.

Taiwan's China policy-making Mainland Affairs Council reacted to the statement, accusing Beijing of using "the WHO to put pressure on us and politically smear us".

China considers Taiwan part of its territory under the globally-recognized "One China" policy. Almost all world countries, including the US, recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.

China has pursued reunification with Taiwan ever since the island broke away from the mainland during a civil war in 1949.

US takes sides with Taiwan in row over pandemic

Meanwhile, the UN agency has been under constant accusations from US President Donald Trump, who said Wednesday that the agency is "very China-centric" and threatened to end funding the WHO.

Washington has now leveled new allegations against the agency, saying the WHO has put politics first by ignoring early coronavirus warnings by Taiwan.

The Trump administration said Thursday that the WHO was too late in sounding the alarm over the virus outbreak and overly deferential to China.

The United States is "deeply disturbed that Taiwan's information was withheld from the global health community, as reflected in the WHO's January 14, 2020 statement that there was no indication of human-to-human transmission," a State Department spokeswoman said.

"The WHO once again chose politics over public health," she said. The WHO's actions have "cost time and lives."

Taiwan claimed it had informed the WHO about human-to-human transmission of the virus, but the WHO did not work to confirm the finding.

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