Taiwan has “not yet” received an invitation to join a meeting this month of the World Health Organization’s (W.H.O.) lead decision-making body, the World Health Assembly, the government said on Monday.
The island state’s government said it would still strive to take part regardless, ABC News in Australia reported.
China forced Taiwan out of the global body in 2016 after the election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who China views as a separatist. It has blocked every effort since for Taiwan to regain even observer status at W.H.O.’s annual policy meeting, insisting Taiwan should not receive any considerations or honors that would be afforded to a full nation-state.
Taiwan’s exclusion from W.H.O. membership has understandably infuriated Taipei, which says its absence has created a glaring gap in the global fight against the coronavirus.
Taiwan has been praised for its handling of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, Taiwan has 436 confirmed coronavirus cases and only six deaths.
In March, assistant director-general at the W.H.O., Bruce Aylward, dodged a journalist’s question on Taiwan’s pariah status, confirming allegations the world body was too deferential to China. Watch that exchange below:
The W.H.O. said last week that due to the epidemic, the World Health Assembly meeting is expected to take the shape of a three-hour video conference rather than the usual full-blown meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
According to the ABC report, Taiwan foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said the government had “not yet received an invitation from W.H.O.” for that briefing and was “still awaiting” it so a delegation could share the island’s experience in fighting the outbreak.
Meanwhile Australia is pushing ahead with its call to have Taiwan return to the W.H.O. fold, as Breitbart News reported.
Last Friday an Australian ministry spokesman said the global coronavirus pandemic needed a global response, and there should be a close working relationship between the W.H.O. and all “health authorities,” including Taiwan.
The nation should be able to participate as an observer or a guest, the spokesman added, and on the evidence would add value to an organization in drastic need of reform.
The government of Taiwan attempted to warn the U.N.-led W.H.O. of the deadly potential of the Wuhan coronavirus as far back as December 2019, but the W.H.O. failed to share Taiwan’s findings on the virus with the world, the country’s U.S. office confirmed to Breitbart News last month.