US continues to support Taiwan’s WHA participation: AIT chair

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The United States would continue to support Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA), a U.S. envoy said Tuesday. The country is still anxiously awaiting an invite to the World Health Organization’s annual decision making summit, to be held in Geneva next month. “We continue to support Taiwan’s meaningful and substantive contributions to the international community. In particular, the United States has welcomed Taiwan’s participation as an observer at the past eight World Health Assembly meetings,” American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty told an event in Taipei. “We look forward to Taiwan’s continued participation at this important event,” Moriarty said in his opening remarks to a workshop on public health joined by local and international experts. The AIT represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties. This is the first time the U.S. side has openly voiced its support for Taiwan’s WHA participation since President Donald Trump assumed office this January.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration had repeatedly voiced its support. Foreign Minister David Lee (李大維) recently told reporters that the prospect of Taiwan participating in this year’s WHA were “extremely slim.” Even so, Lin said, Taiwan’s overseas representative offices and the ministry were doing their best to try and secure an invitation to the assembly, which will be held in Geneva from May 22 to 31. Foreign Minister spokeswoman Eleanor Wang (王珮玲) said on Tuesday that securing Taiwan’s participation at the WHA remained a major challenge, but added that the AIT chair’s ongoing Taiwan trip was concrete evidence of the U.S.’ support for the nation’s contribution to public health.