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Japan supports Taiwan's participation in WHO meetings: PM

ROC Central News Agency

03/04/2021 07:06 PM

Tokyo, March 4 (CNA) Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Thursday expressed his government's support for Taiwan's participation at the World Health Organization (WHO).

Asked about his position on the issue during a Diet session, Suga, who took office as the nation's prime minister in September 2020, reiterated Tokyo's long-held stance over Taipei's wish to attend WHO-related activities, particularly with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"We should not leave any geographical vacuums in addressing global health issues such as infectious disease control," Suga said.

"Consideration should be given to regions which successfully embraced COVID-19 in terms of public health response, such as Taiwan," Suga told house member Shun Otokita of the Japan Innovation Party.

Since being expelled from the WHO in 1972 after the People's Republic of China took its seat, Taiwan, officially named the Republic of China, has not been able to participate in the annual World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, except for 2009-2016, when it attended as an observer at a time when cross-strait relations were warmer under the then-Kuomintang government.

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

(By Yang Ming-chu and Joseph Yeh)


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