US ‘strongly encourages’ invitation for Taiwan’s return to WHA as observer

US ‘strongly encourages’ invitation for Taiwan’s return to WHA as observer
US ‘strongly encourages’ invitation for Taiwan’s return to WHA as observer
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Washington, May 1 (CNA) American Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that the United States was “strongly encouraging the World Health Organization (WHO) to reinstate an invitation to Taiwan to participate as an observer in the World Health Assembly (WHA) .

Taiwan’s expertise, experience and “exceptional capabilities” can benefit the world and offer “considerable value to inform the WHA’s deliberations,” Blinken said in press statement, ahead of the annual WHA meeting that is scheduled to start later this month.

“Time and time again, Taiwan has demonstrated a capability and willingness to help address global health crises and support the global health community,” he said.

However, while the WHO had invited Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer from 2009 to 2016 without objection, Taiwan has since been excluded from the meetings, Blinken noted.

Taiwan’s continued exclusion “undermines inclusive global public health cooperation and security, which the world demands — and urgently needs,” he said.

“Inviting Taiwan to observe the WHA is a critically important step toward affirming the WHO’s goal of ‘Health for All,'” Blinken said. “The United States strongly encourages the WHO to reinstate an invitation to Taiwan to participate as an observer at this year’s WHA.”

He said the US’ support for “Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international forums” is in line with its “one-China policy,” guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques and the Six Assurances.

Since Blinken took office as US secretary of state in 2021, he has been calling for the resumption of Taiwan’s participation in the WHA, and Wednesday’s statement was his fourth public comment on the issue.

The 77th WHA, themed “All for Health, Health for All,” will be held in Geneva, Switzerland from May 27 to June 1.

Taiwan has been excluded from the WHA since 2017, due to pressure from China, and has not received an invitation to participate in this year’s meeting.

On Monday, Health Minister Hsueh Jui-yuan (薛瑞元) said Taiwan will seek to participate as an observer in the Pandemic Agreement, which is likely to be finalized at the upcoming WHA meeting.

(By Chung Yu-chen and Wu Kuan-hsien)

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Tags: strongly encourages invitation Taiwans return WHA observer

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