TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) deeply appreciates the staunch support of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and other friendly countries for its bid to participate in the World Health Organization, according to a press release yesterday.
“The MOFA deeply regrets that the motions by Taiwan’s allies failed to be deliberated at the World Health Assembly (WHA),” the press release stated. But the ministry is sincerely grateful for the staunch support of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and would like to express its deep appreciation to other countries for the friendly gesture of supporting Taiwan’s participation in the WHO, it added.
The MOFA said it hoped the international community will accept Taiwan as a member of the WHO as soon as possible based on humanitarian and professional considerations, so that the rights and welfare of Taiwan’s 23 million people can be protected.
The WHA, the WHO’s highest decision-making body, decided Monday not to put the Taiwan issue on the general assembly’s agenda, although 17 of Taiwan’s 23 diplomatic allies had submitted a motion urging WHA to grant observer status to Taiwan.
In a statement issued Monday through its mission to the United Nations in Geneva, the United States reaffirmed its support for observer status for Taiwan in the WHA, although it does not support membership for Taiwan in organizations that are composed solely of sovereign states.
The U.S. said it supports the involvement of experts from Taiwan in appropriate technical-level meetings in the WHO, and has also advocated universal application of the International Health Regulations (IHRs) to avoid any gaps in regional preparedness for public health emergencies.
Meanwhile, in a letter to WHO Director General Margaret Chan, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt urged the world health body to grant Taiwan observer status.
Japan also reiterated May 13 at a foreign ministry press conference in Tokyo that it supports observership for Taiwan in the WHA.
Taiwan has been trying, unsuccessfully, to gain entry to the WHA as an observer under its official title, the Republic of China, since 1997.
Last year, it applied for full WHO membership as “Taiwan” for the first time, but the bid failed again due to opposition by China, on grounds that Taiwan is part of its territory and only sovereign states can obtain WHO membership.