Ministry thanks Abe, Trudeau for WHO support amid virus outbreak

日本首相安倍晉三週二時在廣島舉行的記者會上表示雙方在強徵勞工問題上已喪失信任,並強調對韓方的出口管制是國安議題而非為了報復南韓。 | Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference in Hiroshima, western Japan Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. Prime Minister Abe says the biggest problem between his country and South Korea is a loss of trust resulting from the wartime labor dispute, which Japan initially linked to the export control measures against South Korea but stayed away after Seoul accused Tokyo of weaponizing trade as retaliation.(Juntaro Yokoyama/Kyodo News via AP)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference in Hiroshima, western Japan Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. (Juntaro Yokoyama/Kyodo News via AP)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA, 外交部) thanked the leaders of Japan and Canada on Thursday for supporting Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization (WHO, 世界衛生組織) as the novel coronavirus continues to spread globally.

Earlier that day, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the country’s national councilors in an upper house meeting that it is necessary for Taiwan to join the specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health.

Abe reportedly said that “under the premise of epidemic prevention and public health policies, political stances should be overruled. Otherwise, maintaining the health of the entire region and further preventing the spread of infection will become a difficult problem.”

Similarly, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told his parliament on Wednesday that “we support Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the international multilateral forum especially when it’s presence provides important contributions to the global public good.”

“We believe that Taiwan’s role as an observer in World Health Assembly meetings is in the best interest of the international health community,” he added.

In response to media inquiries, MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) told reporters that Abe’s speech highlights the criticality and urgency of Taiwan’s participation in WHO and that Taipei and Ottawa will continue their partnership and collaboration.

The Taiwan government has called upon WHO to invite the self-ruled island to join the emergency meeting on the novel coronavirus set to take place on Thursday and take part in the organization as an observer.

As of Thursday, Taiwan is still excluded from direct participation at the WHO assembly meetings despite being on the front line of the coronavirus outbreak. The country has so far reported eight confirmed cases of novel pneumonia.