At least 25 countries to voice support for Taiwan's WHA bid

2018/05/17 15:11:31 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Hsu Peiyung (徐佩勇)/CNA file photo

Hsu Peiyung (徐佩勇)/CNA file photo

Taipei, May 17 (CNA) At least 25 countries will voice support for Taiwan's participation at this year's World Health Assembly (WHA) later this month in Geneva, Switzerland, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said Thursday.

Hsu Peiyung (徐佩勇), head of MOFA's Department of International Cooperation and Economic Affairs, said at a legislative hearing that at least 25 countries -- Taiwan's diplomatic allies and some other countries that share the same values as Taiwan -- will speak out for Taiwan's participation as an observer at the 2018 WHA, to be held May 21-26.

According to Hsu, the number of countries voicing their support could even exceed 25.

So far, 16 of Taiwan's diplomatic partners have written a joint letter to the the World Health Organization (WHO) asking that their proposal to "have Taiwan participate as an observer at this year's WHA -- the decision-making body of the WHO -- be included in the 2018 agenda of the WHA, MOFA officials familiar with the matter said.

Taiwan launched its efforts to join the global health care system in 1997 but did not get invited to attend the WHA as an observer until 2009, when the Kuomintang was the ruling party. In 2017, by which time the pro-Taiwan independence DPP was in power

In response to a question from lawmaker Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) about what moves three of the country's Latin American allies have made for Taiwan's WHA bid, Hsu replied that Honduras has written to the WHO and El Salvador has endorsed the proposal, while Guatemala will express support for Taiwan at the WHA.

Honduras and El Salvador have not spoken for Taiwan at the United Nations for four years in a row, while Guatemala has not done so for three, Wang noted.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said his ministry has been monitoring the issue and added that many developed countries will also speak out for Taiwan's presence at the WHA this year.

(By Wang Cheng-tsung and Flor Wang)
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