05/25/2021, 16.54
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Taiwan still excluded from World Health Assembly because of China’s veto

This proposal to invite Taiwan was excluded from this year’s agenda despite the request from Taiwan’s allies. The Vatican was not one of them. Pakistan backed China in its opposition. The island is now grappling with a surge of the pandemic.

Taipei (AsiaNews) – Taiwan has been excluded from the World Health Organisation Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the World Health Organisation (WHO), for the fifth year in a row.

The WHA got underway virtually yesterday until 1 June. Bhutan, which chairs the assembly this year, decided to leave the proposal to invite Taiwan to join the body as an observer off this year’s agenda.

China is against Taiwan’s participation in international organisations and fora, claiming that the island is a “rebel” province that must be reconquered.

Taiwan was expelled from WHO in 1972 after the People's Republic of China took its seat at the United Nations in 1971.

Since then, Taiwan held observer status from 2009 to 2016 when it was ruled by the pro-Beijing Kuomintang party and President Ma Ying-jeou.

In recent days, 13 of the 15 states that still have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan have appealed for its inclusion in the assembly. The exceptions are Paraguay and the Vatican. The Holy See has observer status in the organisation.

The United States, the European Union and other Western countries also support Taipei's participation.

Yesterday, Nauru and Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland) spoke up for Taiwan, whilst China and Pakistan voiced their opposition.

Islamabad is a partner in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (the so-called New Silk Road) and gets most of its weapons from its northern neighbour.

In the meantime, Taiwan is facing a new surge in the COVID-19 pandemic. Until recently it had effectively contained the problem, despite the absence of direct relations with WHO.

However, since mid-May, the number of cases now averages 500 daily, which has raised concerns in the Taiwanese public. For this reason, local authorities have reintroduced preventive measures that had been lifted months ago.

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