Taiwan making last-gasp effort to have its case heard at WHA

Taipei--Taiwan is still holding out hope that the issue of inviting Taiwan to the World Health Assembly (WHA) will be put on the agenda of this year's conference, a high-ranking official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday.

The WHA, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), will meet in Geneva from May 22 to 31.

Taiwan has asked its allies to try to get the issue of Taiwan's participation on the agenda by Tuesday, the last day to propose topics to be heard at the WHA, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Taiwan's allies around the world have written to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan (????) proposing that the issue of "inviting Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer" be included on the agenda of the meeting, according to the official.

The official said the allies sent the proposal to the Secretariat, and a steering committee will convene on May 22 to discuss whether to put it on the agenda and made a suggestion to the general assembly for it to make a final decision.

Even if the proposal is rejected, it will be read at the general assembly and the allies can express their views, the official said.

The aim is to underscore before the WHO's 194 members Taiwan's exclusion from the global health and medical network, which has violated the WHO Constitution of no discrimination due to political beliefs, the official said.

The last gasp effort came after the ministry confirmed through the WHO on Friday that Taiwan would not receive an invitation to the meeting this year even though several countries, including the United States and Japan, expressed support for Taiwan's bid to attend.

Taiwan had attended the meeting as an observer every year since 2009, when relations between Taipei and Beijing were better, but China has stood in the way of Taiwan's participation this year because relations between the two countries have ground to a halt.

China, which refuses to acknowledge Taiwan's sovereignty, has put added pressure on Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel