Foreign Press Liaison Office
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Republic of China (Taiwan)
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For immediate release
May 12, 2017
Republic of China (Taiwan) rejects WHO characterization of its participation in World Health Assembly and expresses its strong dissatisfaction to WHO Secretariat
At a press conference held May 12 at 9:30 a.m., Geneva time, World Health Organization Department of Governing Bodies and External Relations Director Dr. Timothy Armstrong, responding to a media query concerning Taiwan’s lack of invitation to the World Health Assembly, stated that the WHO had not sent an invitation to Taiwan given the absence of a cross-strait understanding, but Taiwan’s participation in WHO technical meetings continues. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) rejects this unilateral and inaccurate characterization by the WHO, and has expressed its strong dissatisfaction to the WHO.
The WHO is a professional, international health organization. It is obliged to abide by the basic principles of its Constitution, which calls for the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, regardless of race, religion, political belief, and economic or social condition. This right to health is espoused in the WHO Constitution, and is the foundation underpinning the WHO’s invitation to Taiwan to participate in the WHA and, on an equal basis, in WHO activities and technical meetings.
MOFA has expressed great disappointment that the WHO has failed to abide by its Constitution and ignored widespread support in the international community for Taiwan’s participation in the WHA, instead bowing to political pressure from a certain member by excluding Taiwan from the WHA.
Disease knows no boundary, and the fight to prevent the spread of disease brooks no absence. Countries the world over agree that political conditions ought not to be prioritized over the basic right to health. This is also the gold standard under which our government strives to improve the well-being of the 23 million people of Taiwan.
Political obstruction has resulted in a high rate of rejection to Taiwan’s applications to attend technical meetings of the WHA, creating grave difficulties in Taiwan’s efforts to coordinate with the international community on disease prevention. The WHO ought to reject such improper obstruction, and facilitate Taiwan’s participation in the WHA and all manner of meetings, mechanisms, and activities.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates that we are the sole government representing the people of Taiwan, and take responsibility for the health and welfare of the Taiwanese people. The politically motivated exclusion of Taiwan violates the WHO Constitution, and is tantamount to depriving Taiwan’s people of their rights. We look for the WHO and related parties to recognize the justice and importance of Taiwan’s participation in the WHA, such that there be no gap in the disease prevention network, and that together, all might work for the advancement of human health worldwide.