Taiwan to continue efforts to secure World Health Assembly invite

Taiwan will do everything it can to secure an invitation to the 2018 World Health Assembly (WHA), Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of CNA, 2018.3.22)

Taipei, March 21 (CNA) Taiwan will do everything it can to secure an invitation to the 2018 World Health Assembly (WHA), even if the chances of attending are slim, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said Wednesday.

Chen made the comments after media reports a day earlier cited a source familiar with the matter, saying the chance of Taiwan receiving an invitation appear even slimmer than last year because the World Health Organization (WHO) is still being pressured by China to exclude Taiwan from the WHA annual meeting in Geneva in May.

Despite the situation, Chen said, Taiwan will not give up. “Even without an invitation, we will go (to Geneva),” to ensure Taiwan’s voice is heard on the international stage, he reiterated.

When asked by reporters whether the government will lobby for the support of other countries to obtain a WHA invitation, Chen said Taiwan will explore all avenues available to it.

Despite Beijing’s constant efforts to suppress Taiwan’s international space, Taiwan will continue its efforts to attend the WHA’s annual meeting in accordance with established procedure, Chen added.

Meanwhile, referencing a notification received by the Federation of Medical Students in Taiwan (FMS-Taiwan) from the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), that the country name FMS-Taiwan has been changed to “Taiwan, China” on its website as requested by WHO, Chen called the decision “extremely improper.”

Chen said the ministry will continue to protest efforts by some international health organizations to suppress Taiwan in the international arena due to political pressure from Beijing.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Evelyn Kao)