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Taiwan thanks global supporters, blasts China over WHO remarks

ROC Central News Agency

05/03/2020 03:37 PM

Geneva, May 2 (CNA) Taiwan's representative office in Geneva on Saturday expressed gratitude to countries that have voiced support for its participation in World Health Organization (WHO) events, following a statement by China reiterating its long-held stance that Taiwan is part of its territory.

In a press statement, the office thanked foreign governments, congresspersons and friends for supporting Taiwan's participation in WHO events and attendance at the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the WHO.

It also refuted a statement issued by the Chinese mission earlier Saturday to the United Nations, which reiterated that Taiwan's participation in international organizations, including the WHO, must be arranged with the consent of Beijing, as Taiwan is part of China.

The statement was released in the wake of a number of world powers, including the U.S. and Japan, recently renewed their support for Taiwan's participation in the WHA.

The U.S. has strongly supported Taiwan's WHA bid and during a teleconference between U.S. health minister Alex Azar and Taiwan's health minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) last week Azar noted Washington's support for Taiwan's WHA participation.

In a strong-worded statement, China's Permanent Mission to the U.N. Office at Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland on Saturday criticized the U.S.-Taiwan teleconference, which the mission said was a clear violation of Beijing's "one-China principle." that sees Taiwan as part of China.

"This is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three joint communiqués between the United States and China, as well as the one-China principle affirmed in United Nations General Assembly resolution 2758 and World Health Assembly resolution 25.1.," the statement said.

"By doing so, the U.S. politicizes the epidemic prevention and sends a very wrong signal to secessionist forces in Taiwan, China. China firmly opposes it," the statement continued.

The mission reiterated that Taiwan is part of China and as such its participation in international organizations, including the activities of the WHO, "must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle."

It continued to say Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has "stubbornly insisted on its separatist position and refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle," that serves as the political basis for the participation of "Taiwan province in WHA."

In response, Taiwan's office in Geneva said "U.N. General Assembly Resolution 2758 and World Health Assembly Resolution 25.1 only deal with the issue of China's representation and do not say Taiwan is part of China."

The office stressed that the two resolutions do not settle the issue of the participation of Taiwan in the U.N. and do not authorize the People's Republic of China to represent Taiwan in the U.N.

The WHA is scheduled to hold its 73rd session in May 17-21, though it may need to be conducted virtually due to travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

From 2009-2016, Taiwan participated in the WHA as an observer under the name Chinese Taipei amid better relations with China during the then-Kuomintang administration.

However, since 2017 China has persuaded the WHO not to invite Taiwan, in line with Beijing's hardline stance on cross-strait relations since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016.

(By Tang Pei-chun and Joseph Yeh)


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