Taiwan has been invited to attend the Global COVID-19 Summit on Thursday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told lawmakers yesterday.
Fielding questions at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, Wu said the country has again been invited to the summit organized by the US.
However, he did not disclose who is to represent Taiwan at the summit in what he said was a show of respect to the event organizers.
Photo: CNA
Wu told Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) that the ministry would make the information public at the conclusion of the summit, in keeping with its practice last year.
Former vice president Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) represented Taiwan at the inaugural virtual Global COVID-19 Summit, which was convened on Sept. 22 last year by US President Joe Biden from the White House.
A statement released by the White House last month said that the second edition of the summit would build on efforts and commitments made at the first summit, including getting more people vaccinated, sending tests and treatments to the highest-risk populations, expanding protections to healthcare workers and generating financing for pandemic preparedness.
Wu also told Chiang that although Taiwan has been experiencing record-high daily domestic COVID-19 cases for the past few weeks, the nation does not yet need help from the international community to combat the outbreak.
The ministry has been closely in touch with the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on whether Taiwan needs foreign assistance, Wu said, adding that the CECC told the ministry that the government was still capable of combating the surge in domestic cases.
Wu also told lawmakers that Taiwan was still waiting for an invitation to join the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA), which is scheduled to take place from Sunday next week to May 28.
Without disclosing details, the minister said that more countries this year have shown their support to Taiwan regaining its seat in the WHA.
Regardless of whether Taiwan is invited to attend this year’s WHA, Deputy Minister of Health Lee Li-feng (李麗芬) and other government officials would still travel to Geneva, Switzerland, to share Taiwan’s healthcare experience on the sidelines of the annual WHA, as it has been done in the past, Wu said.
Taiwan participated in WHA events as an observer from 2009 to 2016 under the designation “Chinese Taipei,” when relations between Beijing and Taipei were warmer during the then-KMT administration in Taiwan.
However, 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 advocacy of Taiwan’s sovereignty as an independent state.
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