Taiwan denounces exclusion from WHA meeting: MOFA

2017/05/12 22:50:16 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
(CNA file photo)

(CNA file photo)

Taipei, May 12 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Friday denounced Taiwan's exclusion from this year's World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting, saying that it goes against the purpose of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Commenting on World Health Organization (WHO) official Tim Armstrong's quotes in a report by The Associated Press that the WHO had not sent an invitation to Taiwan because of an absence of a cross-strait understanding, the foreign ministry issued a statement saying that the government rejects this "unilateral and inaccurate" characterization by the WHO.

"The WHO is obliged to abide by the basic principles of its Constitution, which calls for the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, regardless of race, religion, political belief, and economic or social condition," the MOFA stated.

Meanwhile, it also expressed its disappointment that "the WHO has failed to abide by its Constitution and ignored widespread support in the international community for Taiwan's participation in the WHA, instead bowing to political pressure from a certain member by excluding Taiwan from the WHA."

Disease knows no boundary, it said, and political conditions should not to be prioritized over the basic right to health.

"This is also the gold standard under which our government strives to improve the well-being of the 23 million people of Taiwan," said the MOFA.

In its closing statement, the MOFA again called for the WHO to recognize the importance of Taiwan's participation in the WHA, adding that there should be no gap in the global disease prevention network.

Beijing is widely believed to have pressured the WHO to not invite Taiwan to attend the meeting later this month.

In the past few years, Taiwan had been invited to attend the annual gathering as an observer, even though it is not a member country of the United Nations. But that was when relations with mainland China were good.

Tensions between the two sides have risen since Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May 2016 ignoring Beijing's condition for building ties -- that she accept the 1992 Consensus under which China defines Taiwan and the mainland as part of one China.

(By Scarlett Chai and Ko Lin)

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