New Zealand Finance Minister Grant Robertson on Thursday said Taiwan has “something to offer” in terms of early detection and prevention efforts, weighing in on the debate around whether it should be allowed to join the World Health Organization (WHO).
Robertson spoke at a daily media briefing about the country’s fight against the coronavirus during which he was asked whether New Zealand would support Taiwan’s inclusion in the WTO as an observer.
Taiwan has adopted several successful methods of dealing with the virus and has epidemiologists and health experts who provide advice that benefits many countries, Robertson said.
Taiwan attended the World Health Assembly from 2009 to 2016, when relations between Taipei and Beijing were warm, but China blocked further participation because it considers Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen a separatist.
The United States has expressed support for Taiwan’s participation in the meeting as an observer, increasing pressure on China over its stance on the country’s independence from Beijing.
Robertson said New Zealand continued to value the role of the WHO and its role in international health policy.
Nothing has changed with New Zealand’s relationship with China, he added, ‘We’re in a relationship with a lot of depth and it’s time we relied on each other and supported each other.