US expresses ‘disappointment’ over Taiwan’s exclusion from WHA Taiwan News

TAIPEI, Taiwan (Taiwan News) — The United States on Thursday (May 25) reiterated its support for Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA).

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said at a news conference that the US had advocated Taiwan’s participation in this year’s global health conference but was “disappointed” that the plan had not materialized. “We believe that inviting Taiwan as an observer will demonstrate the commitment of the World Health Organization (WHO) to an inclusive health-for-all approach to international health cooperation,” he said.

He added that the United States would continue to push for Taiwan to gain observer status at the World Health Assembly and “enable Taiwan’s meaningful and active participation throughout the United Nations system and other international forums.”

Mueller’s statement echoed a statement made earlier this month by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. “Inviting Taiwan as an observer will demonstrate the World Health Organization’s commitment to an inclusive, ‘Health for All’ approach to international health cooperation,” he said.

Blinken hailed Taiwan as “a capable, engaged and responsible member of the global health community,” having previously been granted access to World Health Assembly meetings as an observer.

Taiwan served as an observer to the World Health Assembly from 2009 to 2016, but since President Tsai Ing-wen came to power, Taiwan has been excluded due to China’s opposition.

This year’s World Health Assembly began on May 21 and will run until May 30.

So far, 20 countries have publicly expressed support for Taiwan’s participation, including: Belize, Nauru, Swaziland, Marshall Islands, Guatemala, Paraguay, Haiti, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Japan, the Czech Republic , United Kingdom, Australia, United States, France, Canada, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Germany and Estonia.

In addition, 12 of its 13 countries with diplomatic relations sent a letter to Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, urging Taiwan to participate in the 76th World Health Assembly.

Taiwan’s Minister of Health Xue Ruiyuan led a delegation to Geneva, Switzerland, to meet with representatives of other countries and promote Taiwan’s contribution to global health.

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