Taipei, May 19 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed “deep regret and dissatisfaction” on Thursday that Taiwan had yet to receive an invitation to the 75th World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), which is set to take place in Geneva this year in three days.
“We find it deeply regrettable that the WHO has once again failed to remain professional and politically neutral to extend an invitation to Taiwan,” MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said at a news briefing.
The WHO has disregarded the widespread international support for Taiwan’s participation in the WHA as an observer, which is necessary and urgent, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, she added.
The upcoming WHA, which will commence on May 22 and end on May 28, will be the first in-person WHA since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ou said that 13 of the nation’s diplomatic allies that are WHO members had sent a proposal to the WHO Secretariat to include a discussion on the nation’s possible inclusion in this year’s WHA as a supplementary item.
Related discussions over the matter will be made during the WHA session soon, she added.
Regardless of whether Taiwan will be invited to attend this year’s WHA or not, Ou said Deputy Health Minister Lee Li-feng (李麗芬) and other government officials will still travel to Geneva to share Taiwan’s healthcare experience on the sidelines of the annual WHA, as has been done in the past.
Meanwhile, asked to comment on the possibility that Taiwan could still receive an invite before the annual event beginning on May 22, Ou said it is unlikely given that the meeting is only three days away.
“Apparently, the WHO has no intention of giving a response on the widespread international support for Taiwan,” she said.
Taiwan, officially named the Republic of China, was expelled from the WHO in 1972 after losing its seat in the United Nations one year earlier.
It was able to send delegations to participate in the WHA as an observer from 2009 to 2016 under the designation “Chinese Taipei” when relations between Beijing and Taipei were warmer during the then Kuomintang administration.
Since 2017, Taiwan has been excluded from the WHA due to opposition from China, which has taken a hard line against President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her Democratic Progressive Party for their stance that Taiwan is an independent state.
(By Joseph Yeh)


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