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President Tsai and MOFA strongly protest WHO Director-General’s accusations, call for professionalism and Taiwan’s participation

President Tsai and MOFA strongly protest WHO Director-General’s accusations, call for professionalism and Taiwan’s participation

 

On 9 April, President Tsai Ing-wen and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly protested false accusations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who accused the government of Taiwan of encouraging the Taiwanese people to discredit him. In a statement on Twitter and Facebook, the president stressed Taiwan has always opposed all forms of discrimination, adding that after years of exclusion from international organisations, Taiwan knows better than anyone else what it feels like to be discriminated against and isolated. She pointed out that if the Director-General could withstand pressure from China and come to Taiwan to see its efforts to fight COVID-19 for himself, he would be able to see that the Taiwanese people are the true victims of unfair treatment. “I believe that the WHO will only truly be complete if Taiwan is included,” she stated. The same day, MOFA also published a statement expressing profound regret and strong protest regarding this false accusations. MOFA stressed that Dr. Tedros’s unwarranted charges, made without any attempt at verification, are contrary to the facts and have caused serious damage to the government and people of Taiwan. MOFA called on the Director-General to put aside all political discrimination, maintain neutrality and professionalism, invite Taiwan to fully participate in the WHO.

 

On 15 April, MOFA issued a response to the WHO Secretariat’s 13-point statement regarding Taiwan’s engagement with the body. MOFA pointed out that the WHO has failed to uphold the principles of professionalism and neutrality and arrange for Taiwan’s comprehensive and unimpeded participation. MOFA also drew attention to Taiwan’s participation remains extremely limited. “Taiwan is not only prevented from obtaining firsthand information concerning the disease in a timely manner, but also faces hurdles in sharing its Taiwan Model on epidemic prevention with other countries, ” MOFA stated, adding that from 2009 to 2019, Taiwan applied to take part in 187 WHO technical meetings but only received invitations to 57 of these, meaning that 70 percent of applications were rejected. MOFA concluded by urging the WHO to engage in direct communication with the Taiwan government, invite Taiwan to attend the World Health Assembly as an observer, and facilitate its participation in all WHO meetings, mechanisms, and activities, including those concerning epidemic prevention and containment.

 

On 16 April, MOFA issued a statement regarding the WHO’s press conference the previous day in which it responded to Taiwan’s efforts to participate by erroneously citing UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1 as well as misleadingly claiming that Taiwan and WHO share good and extensive interactions. The ministry pointed out that the UNGA Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1 only address the right to represent China and do not refer to Taiwan as part of China, and they do not deal with the issue of Taiwan’s participation in the UN nor authorise China to represent Taiwan in the UN system. MOFA once again urged the WHO Secretariat to bear in mind the noble goal of Health for All, maintain a position of neutrality and professionalism, live up to its status as the leading international public health organisation, and not become complicit in suppressing the health rights of the 23 million people of Taiwan.