Taipei, A Japanese daily has expressed support in an editorial published Sunday for Taiwan to participate in the annual meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA) this coming week, a meeting that Taiwan was blocked from attending by China.
The editorial in the Mainichi Shimbun, titled "China's pressure to exclude Taiwan from the World Health Organization is unreasonable," argued that Taiwan should be included in this year's WHA meeting.
"The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being, without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition," according to the WHO's Constitution, the editorial said.
It said China sees Taiwan's people as "compatriots," but by taking health issues hostage to coerce Taiwan into acknowledging Beijing's "one China" principle, then isn't China showing blatant disregard for the human rights of its "compatriots?" the editorial wondered.
At a time when China has been stepping up efforts to suppress Taiwan's presence in the international community, it has also unveiled incentives to attract Taiwanese businesses and individuals to invest or study in China, the editorial noted.
It said that if Beijing really wanted to win the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese, it should allow Taiwan to join the WHO and show the importance it attaches to Taiwan's human rights.
Taiwan failed to obtain an invitation to this year's WHA meeting from May 21 to 26 in Geneva.
Taiwan started seeking an invitation to the WHA -- the decision-making body of the WHO --in 1997, and was finally invited as an observer in 2009, under a Kuomintang administration that was friendly to Beijing.
It was able to attend the WHA every year from 2009 to 2016, but since a Democratic Progressive Party administration, which is less friendly to China than its predecessor, took power in 2016, Beijing has blocked WHA invitations to Taiwan in 2017 and 2018.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel