The annual World Health Assembly (WHA) will unfold on Monday, marking the fourth consecutive year that Taiwan has not been invited.
With the World Health Organization’s (WHO) insistence that Taiwan is excluded in accordance with China’s “One-China policy,” this “politics over health” approach has drawn further international criticism.
Still, many countries are expected to voice their support for Taiwan during Monday’s meeting.
The 73rd WHA will begin at 12 p.m. Geneva time (6 p.m. Taipei time) in a video format, the first time in WHA’s history, due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Although the WHO extended the registration period for member countries to anytime prior to the meeting, sources said that the WHO will keep Taiwan out for the fourth consecutive year.
今天WHA主題將討論COVID-19，WHO秘書長譚德塞（Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus）將針對這個主題發表談話。
WHO Secretary General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is scheduled to speak on the topic of the COVID-19 pandemic during today’s meeting.
Since the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, China, nearly 190 countries around the world have been affected, while international criticism has emerged over China’s alleged concealment of the epidemic and WHO’s alleged mishandling of the global health crisis.
Many countries have planned or launched joint investigations over these matters.
For example, a draft resolution co-sponsored by some 60 EU leaders will be adopted at today’s General Assembly, calling the WHO head to cooperate in investigating the source of the virus and to initiate a review of the response to the outbreak as soon as possible.
Many countries are also dissatisfied with the current state of global health cooperation. Still, the WHO insists on following the “One-China Principle” to exclude Taiwan. How the member states discuss Taiwan issues today would be another focus, and there will be no absence of staunch support for Taiwan in the meeting, observers said.
In addition to diplomatic allies, countries with similar ideas are also expected to join the meeting to speak out for Taiwan and express their opposition to politics over health.
Taiwan was present as an observer for eight consecutive years from 2009 to 2016. But for the fourth year in a row, the WHO has declined to invite Taiwan. This year, however, support for Taiwan’s participation in the WHA has reached a peak in recent years as Taiwan’s epidemic prevention achievements have gained international attention.
Fourteen allies including Paraguay, Swatini and others have completed a proposal to the WHO Secretariat to invite Taiwan to attend the WHA.
The German Foreign Office has confirmed that it has sent a joint letter to Ghebreyesus with the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, the United States, Canada and Australia, urging Taiwan to participate as an observer at the WHA.
而今年美國進一步以更多行動協助，包括美國國務卿蓬佩奧（Mike Pompeo）及衛生及公共服務部長艾薩（Alex Azar）均公開支持台灣參與WHA，另美國國務院及美國在台協會（AIT）也在推特發起一系列主題標籤及推文。
This year, the U.S. has further assisted with more actions, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar publicly supporting Taiwan’s participation in the WHA, and the U.S. State Department and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) tweeting a series of hashtags and tweets.
The WHA is the highest decision-making body of the WHO whose main responsibilities are to determine the policy direction of the WHO, to appoint the Secretary General, to review and approve the planning and budget proposals, etc. The General Assembly meets every May in Geneva.