The World Health Assembly has rejected Taiwan’s plea to join its annual gathering despite support from countries like the US, France, Australia and UK. Taiwan blamed China for its routine objection to including the nation. On day one of the 74th World Health Assembly (WHA), the forum of 174 countries even refused to discuss the entry of Taiwan as an observer. It had been given observer status before.
Pakistan supported China’s stand and spoke against Taiwan’s inclusion, while several countries like Nauru and Eswatini spoke in its favour.
The ministry of foreign affairs of Taiwan expressed its disappointment over its rejection and said its inclusion is a matter of global public health. It further blamed Chinese political pressure for the unjust and unfair decision of keeping Taiwan out. It condemned the Chinese Communist party for distorting Taiwan’s sovereign status.
The exclusion of Taiwan extended as far as stopping its journalists from covering its event. Two reporters were earlier approved press passes but when they reached to collect it in Geneva, they were refused. The reason cited for the revocation of their access was pressure from China and were told they had to report everything to China.
A WHO spokesperson confirmed that the accreditation of journalists entering the UN building was governed by the UN. He said the United Nations headquarters is open to only those individuals who possess identification from a UN member state recognised by the General Assembly. this rule, however, does not apply to journalists and only applies to the participants in a UN event. the rule is applied to every UN premise around the world. He reported that the request by the tow Taiwanese journalists was put on hold and had not been rejected. It was waiting for the submission of the required documents by the journalists.
CHINESE POLICY TO ISOLATE TAIWAN
The Chinese foreign ministry, on the other hand, welcomed the WHA decision and asserted that 100 countries have accepted its “one China principle” by not wanting Taiwan to be part of WHA. It affirmed that the requests of Taiwan to enter the forum were a part of its strategy to include more countries in ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist activities. China criticised certain countries for interfering in its internal matters and urged them to not mix politics with public health.
Beijing has time and again isolated Taiwan from global bodies as part of its efforts to keep Taiwan away from the international community. China has been claiming Taiwan as part of its province and hence, to annex it completely, it has kept Taiwan away from any bilateral and multilateral engagements that may further Taiwan’s position as a sovereign nation.
Taiwan’s ministry of foreign affairs accused the UN’s Geneva office of having “failed to act impartially” and urged it to not “give in to unreasonable political pressure from certain countries”.
COUNTRIES SUPPORTING TAIWAN’S INCLUSION
Several countries issued a joint statement supporting Taipei’s inclusion. Some of the most powerful countries including the UK, US, France, Japan, Canada, Australia were part of the statement. Despite the firm support from influential countries, WHO’s biases towards China are evident. Even during the pandemic, its director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was accused of being ‘deferential to China’.
After the refusal to acknowledge Taiwan as a part of ‘One China’ by Taiwan’s president after the 2016 election in the country, Beijing has stopped Taipei to attend WHA as an observer. However, after the coronavirus pandemic, the support for Taiwan has increased as it defeated the outbreak in early days and provided protective equipment from around the world.