Taiwan was not able to join the World Health Assembly (WHA) on Monday. Taiwan said it was “disappointed and angry” with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Taipei expressed its frustration about not being invited to the annual WHO meeting that started on Monday.
Aiming to be an observer, Taiwan has been lobbying to be a part of this year’s WHA meeting. Taiwan has successfully managed the coronavirus outbreak. However, it is in conflict with China, which claims Taiwan as its province and has no right to its own diplomatic representation.
“We feel disappointed and angry about WHO’s decision of not inviting Taiwan to join this year’s WHA. We feel we have so much to share about our successful experiences in this Covid-19 outbreak response” said Yi-Chun Lo, deputy director general at Taiwan Centers for Disease Control.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu said the issue of its participation would be put off until later in the year. The assembly will focus on addressing the coronavirus first.
Taiwan has a record of only 440 coronavirus cases and seven deaths even without a large-scale lockdown.
US praises Taiwan
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated Tsai Ing-Wen on her re-election as president of Taiwan. He also commended the country’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Pompeo considers Taiwan as a reliable partner. “We have a shared vision for the region – one that includes rule of law, transparency, prosperity, and security for all, Pompeo said in a statement.
“The recent COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for the international community to see why Taiwan’s pandemic-response model is worthy of emulation,” he said.
China considers Tsai, who is entering her second and final term on Wednesday, as a separatist bent on official independence for Taiwan.
Moreover, Tsai aims to announce that Taiwan will seek to “actively participate” in international bodies and further cooperate with countries that share their interests. This is considered a reference to the US and its allies. One of the international institutions is the World Health Organization, which is currently dismissing Taiwan as a potential member, at China’s request.
US President Donald Trump signed the TAIPEI Act to strengthen his country’s ties with Taiwan. Through this bill, the Washington has expressed its support for Taiwan as it cements its relationships with other countries.
The law is formally known as the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act. This was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives on March 4. The Senate bill approved unanimously in October.
The TAIPEI Act was authored by Senator Cory Gardner, Republican of Colorado, and Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware. They all agree that says the US must support Taiwan in establishing its alliances around the world amid increased pressure and what Coons claims as “bullying tactics” from China.
“The United States should use every tool to support Taiwan’s standing on the international stage,” Gardner stated in a joint announcement with Coons.
“This bipartisan legislation demands a whole-of-government approach to ramp up our support for Taiwan, and will send a strong message to nations that there will be consequences for supporting Chinese actions that undermine Taiwan.”