UPDATED 8:15 AM PT — Friday, May 15, 2020
Tensions between Taiwan and China are heightening as Taiwan lobbies for a spot in the World Health Assembly. On Friday, Taiwan’s health minister rejected China’s main condition to allow the island to take part in the World Health Organization.
China said it will only grant participation if Taiwan agrees to what’s dubbed the One-China policy and accept it’s part of their country. The objection comes as Beijing considers the island to be one of its provinces.
Taiwan argues the coronavirus pandemic is one of the more urgent reasons it should be allowed “proper access” to the World Health Organization.
The principle that all people should enjoy the highest standard of health, regardless of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition has guided WHO’s work for the past 70+ years, since it was first set up as the lead agency for international health in the @UN. pic.twitter.com/X88VcxIQHG
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) May 13, 2020
“It is the right of Taiwan to participate in the World Health Organization. We can represent our own people. We have said this many times. Our democratically elected government alone, including the public health system headed up by our professionals from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, can take care of our 23 million citizens and contribute to organizations like the World Health Organization.”
— Kelly Hsieh, Deputy Foreign Minister – Taiwan
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said it’s not mandatory to invite Taiwan, adding that only member states can decide.