By Keoni Everington
TAIPEI, Taiwan (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Tuesday (May 5) said that only Taiwan has the legal authority to represent itself and that the World Health Organization (WHO) should “free itself” from Beijing’s control as member countries decide whether to include Taiwan as the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) rages.
During a press conference on Monday (May 4), Steven Solomon, a legal consultant for the WHO, stated that the group’s 194 member countries will discuss Taiwan’s participation as an observer at the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA) on May 17 in Geneva. He emphasized that it is not a matter for the WHO Secretariat to decide, as it is “not the role of the WHO staff to be involved in geopolitical issues.”
In response, MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou during a press conference on Tuesday reiterated that UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1 only deal with the issue of “Chinese representation” and do not touch on Taiwan. Ou said that the two resolutions do not give China the right to represent the people of Taiwan at the UN or its specialized agencies.
She stated that China “has no right to represent the 23 million people of Taiwan in international organizations,” reported SET News. She added that only the “democratically elected government of Taiwan has the right to represent the people of Taiwan in the WHO and to be responsible for the health and well-being of the people of Taiwan.”
Ou then called on the WHO to “abandon its mode of biased thinking and rigid political considerations and free itself from the Chinese government’s control to allow Taiwan to participate in the global fight against the virus, reported hk01. She pointed out that a growing number of countries have affirmed Taiwan’s outstanding performance in containing the deadly virus.
She also said that Taiwan’s successes in battling the disease can be shared with other countries and that Taiwan is willing and able to participate in global epidemic control efforts. Ou concluded that there are ample reasons for Taiwan to participate in the WHA to share its internationally acclaimed “Taiwan Model” and exchange experiences in order to enhance the international effort to combat the disease.