127 European parliamentarians support Taiwan’s WHA bid

Screenshot of Anna Fotyga's Twitter page

TAIPEI (CNA) — In a series of letters, 127 European parliamentarians have expressed support for Taiwan’s bid to participate in the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), Taiwan’s foreign ministry said Saturday.

One of the letters, dated April 8 and addressed to European Union High Representative Josep Borrell, was signed by 67 EU parliamentarians from six party caucuses, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said.

“The WHO treatment of Taiwan as part of China has caused problems for Taiwan,” according to a copy of the letter that was posted on Twitter by one of the signatories, former Poland Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga.

Not only is Taiwan’s democratically elected government barred from participation in the WHO’s decision-making body, the World Health Assembly (WHA), but Taiwanese experts are also arbitrarily prevented from attending the WHO’s technical meetings, the letter stated.

“In these difficult times, the substantial cooperation in areas such as medical supplies, research and development of vaccines between Taiwan, the EU and its Member States would be beneficial in order to curb the further spread of the pandemic and better prepare for any future outbreak,” the letter reads.

One of the other letters was signed by 60 legislators of the German Parliament on April 2 and addressed to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has been heavily criticized by the U.S. and several other countries for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to MOFA.

Anita Schäfer, chairperson of the German-Chinese Association-Friends of Taiwan, wrote in that letter that the WHO’s treatment of Taiwan was inconsistent with its organizational values, MOFA said.

The foreign ministry expressed appreciation for the support of the 127 European parliamentarians, saying they were the “voice of justice.”

The empathy of those parliamentarians for Taiwan is in sharp contrast to Tedros’ biased statements about Taiwan, MOFA said.

Tedros, an Ethiopian microbiologist, should be impartial and professional on the matter of the Taiwanese people’s health and welfare, MOFA said.

Since Taiwan was expelled from the WHO in 1972, its participation in the WHA as an observer has been limited to an eight-year period, from 2009 to 2016, amid relatively warmer cross-Taiwan Strait relations during that time.

International support for Taiwan’s bid to rejoin in the WHO and WHA have been growing recently, amid concern over the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic and in recognition of Taiwan’s efforts to contain the virus.