Taipei, A number of Taiwan's diplomatic allies have sent separate proposals to the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) asking that Taiwan be allowed to participate in this year's World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Saturday.
MOFA's press statement indicated that although Taiwan has yet to receive an invitation to the 71st WHA, to be held in Geneva May 21-26, it has officially asked its diplomatic allies to petition the international organization on its behalf.
The ministry would not disclose to which allies it was referring but said that several countries with which Taiwan shares diplomatic ties have written to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus proposing "inviting Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer."
An informed source, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, previously noted that Taiwan will continue to seek an invitation until the assembly starts, despite conceding that the chance of obtaining one appears even slimmer than last year.
2016 was the last time Taiwan attended the WHA, and it was around that time, with the election of President Tsai Ing-wen (???) of the Democratic Progressive Party, that China stepped up pressure on international organizations to exclude Taiwan from such events.
This is a result of Tsai refusing to accept the 1992 concensus and the resulting "One China" principle which had previously been the basis of Taiwan-China relations.
In its statement, MOFA called on the WHO to defend the professionalism of the field of medicine, saying the organization should not be swayed by the political objectives of certain countries.
At an event for World Health Day on the same day, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (???) said that Taiwan's medical capabilities mean it has much to contribute to the WHO.
Especially with the theme of this year's World Health Day being universal health coverage, Taiwan is perfectly positioned to share insights about its own healthcare system, which is rated one of the best in the world, Chen said.
Regardless of whether Taiwan receives an invitation to attend the WHA or not, Chen will lead a delegation to Geneva as he did last year and hold bilateral talks with countries attending the assembly.
According to the aforementioned source, many countries have already agreed to hold discussions with Taiwan outisde the WHA venue.
The Foundation of Medical Professionals Alliance in Taiwan said on Thursday that the European Union, United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Australia and Japan are all planning to speak up in favor of Taiwan being invited to attend this year's WHA.
However, none of these countries have publicly confirmed their intention to do so.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel