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MOFA grateful to ROC diplomatic allies, partner countries for staunch support of Taiwan’s 2017 WHA participation

A proposal by 11 diplomatic allies of the Republic of China (Taiwan) urging the World Health Organization to invite Taiwan to participate in the World Health Assembly as an observer was not included in the agenda of the 70th WHA, which commenced in Geneva this morning.

The proposal was rejected after two-on-two debates were held at the WHA General Committee and the WHA plenary session. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sincerely thanks the representatives of the ROC’s diplomatic allies for proposing and speaking in favor of the motion. Such actions reflect the affirmation and support of diplomatic allies and partner countries for Taiwan’s professional and pragmatic participation in the WHO.

The General Committee met to review and debate the proposal following the opening of the WHA on the morning of May 22. Swaziland and Solomon Islands spoke in support of the inclusion of the proposal, while mainland China and Cuba opposed the motion. The Committee chairman recommended not including the proposal.

At a second two-on-two debate on the issue held at the WHA plenary session after the General Committee meeting, Palau and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines—both diplomatic allies of the ROC—stressed the need for Taiwan to attend the WHA as an observer from the perspective of global health cooperation. Mainland China and Cuba once again opposed the motion on the grounds of the one China principle and mainland China’s claim of purview over the Taiwanese people’s right to health. Representatives of the ROC’s allies emphasized that the WHO, as a specialized organization, should not allow political factors to influence Taiwan’s participation in the WHA and related meetings, mechanisms and activities, and that human health and wellbeing should not be sacrificed for political reasons. The debate concluded with a ruling by the chairman that the proposal would not be included in the WHA agenda.

Regarding mainland China’s unilateral allusion to UN Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1, the ROC government reiterates that these two resolutions are in no way relevant to Taiwan’s professional participation in the WHO, nor can they resolve the issue of the right to health of Taiwan’s 23 million citizens. The ROC government alone can represent its entire citizenry in international organizations and assume responsibility for the health of these 23 million citizens. Excluding Taiwan from the WHA for political reasons not only violates the WHO Constitution, but also deprives the Taiwanese people of their right to health.

The statements made today by representatives of the ROC’s diplomatic allies and partner countries demonstrate the need for the WHO to incorporate Taiwan into its activities, as well as the unreasonableness of WHO’s decision to deny Taiwan an invitation to attend the WHA. Taiwan’s request for professional participation not only conforms to the spirit of the WHO Constitution, but also highlights its willingness to take part and longstanding contributions to global endeavors to safeguard human health.

Taiwan’s request for proposals to the WHO endorsing its participation in this year’s WHA received a warm response; many diplomatic allies completed related procedures at short notice, thus enabling WHO members to understand Taiwan’s situation. MOFA once again thanks the representatives who submitted proposals and debated on Taiwan’s behalf, as well as other partner countries that supported its bid. The ROC government will continue to seek dignified participation in the WHO under the principles of professionalism and pragmatism, making every effort to play its part in global health and security, and supporting international efforts to attain the goal of leaving no one behind.