Taipei, Feb. 16 (CNA) Taiwan is continuing its efforts to secure an invitation to attend this year's World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer, with the World Health Organization expected to start issuing invitations in March, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said on Thursday.
The 2017 WHA meeting, the annual ministerial gathering of the WHO's 194 member states is scheduled to be held from May 22-31 and the WHO Secretariat will, based on past practice, send invitations to attend in March, said Michael Hsu (徐佩勇), director-general of MOFA's Department of International Organizations, at a regular press briefing on Thursday.
Taiwan has attended the WHA as an observer for the past eight years, enabling the nation to make meaningful contributions to global healthcare and disease control efforts, Hsu said, adding that this year, Taiwan will solicit the support of its diplomatic allies and other countries for its participation at the annual WHA meeting.
In the past, Taiwan was denied the chance to attend the meeting because of pressure from Beijing, which sees Taiwan as part of its national territory and generally opposes its inclusion in international organizations.
Commenting on the matter, Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said on Thursday that Taiwan should have the right to participate in the international community and called on China to see Taiwan's international participation in a positive light, allowing the two sides to contribute to the international community together.
(By Scarlett Chai, Miu Chung-han and Evelyn Kao)