Taiwan’s exclusion from WHO’s coronavirus assembly puts more pressure on China
Ø Many countries have supported the United States’ call to include Taiwan in the World Health Assembly [WHA] on the coronavirus. WHA is WHO's annual policy making meeting, where China is expected to face questions over COVID-19 outbreak.
Ø The U.S., in a letter last week, urged the WHO (World Health Organization) and allies to support Taiwan’s inclusion.
Ø “Given what the world has endured as a result of COVID-19, U.N. member states joining together to insist Taiwan be invited to the upcoming virtual WHA session in May 2020 is the right place to start," the letter reads.
Ø Reports are that Taiwan’s participation has got the support of Britain, Germany, Canada, Australia, Japan and every member state of the European Union.
Ø Taiwan has attracted attention lately because of its effective measures to fight coronavirus. The country has just 440 confirmed cases and seven deaths. Moreover, it has donated medical equipment to the countries in need.
Ø China claims Taiwan to be its part, and has blocked it from attending the meeting since 2016 as relations between the two severed after the election of Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party, whom China has viewed as a separatist.
Ø WHO in its defense says that it doesn’t have the authority to invite Taiwan for the World Health Assembly. Instead, WHO says the member states need to vote to allow Taiwan’s inclusion.
Ø China, however, is accusing member states of politicising the meeting. Beijing says that Western countries are using Taiwan to distract the attention from their failure in fighting coronavirus.
WHO Needs to Include Taiwan in the WHA Assembly
Taiwan is one of the few places in the world which has successfully halted the spread of COVID-19, without using extremely strict measures. However, despite Taiwan’s efforts, WHO has still excluded them from the COVID-19 assembly because of its complex relationship with China.
Things get interesting when we look at the fact that FOX News is reporting on this piece, considering that the U.S., despite making a bipartisan appeal to allow Taiwan to join the assembly, sides with China in not recognizing Taiwan as its own sovereign nation.
Taiwan and the U.S. enjoy a “robust unofficial relationship,” according to the U.S. Department of State, but I wonder if the United States were to recognize Taiwan as its own sovereign nation, if anything would change?
WHO has also been combining Taiwan’s efforts with China’s; which one can only draw a conclusion that WHO’s repeated praise of China’s response to COVID-19 shows political bias towards China, which is a major contributor to the organization.
Should Taiwan be involved in the WHA’s assembly on the Coronavirus? Absolutely, because they are an independent nation that has halted the spread of COVID-19, America’s bipartisan appeal was absolutely the right move, however, in doing so America should also have acknowledged Taiwan as an independent nation, instead of showing the same political bias that WHO shows towards China.
WHO absolutely has the power to invite Taiwan to participate in the meeting, and should have heard the appeal by multiple U.N. member states and thus invited Taiwan to the upcoming WHA session in May, 2020. By not doing so WHO is allowing U.N. member states to disregard Taiwan’s efforts, and not benefit from the efforts they have made to quell the virus.
By not including Taiwan in the WHA assembly, we will lose valuable information on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, and thus continue to be behind in stopping the spread of this virus.
First off, you mention Fox News in a way that seems to carry some deeper criticism of the network, which is wrong, first of all, and also doesn’t seem relevant in any way.
But you are right that the situation with Taiwan is complicated and that the United States does, in fact, struggle to recognize Taiwan sovereignty. This is a result of the massive amount of power China wields which forces the U.S. to play a very difficult political game in order to receive any concessions from the communist nation. Don’t get me wrong, I really wish to see Taiwan given full recognition by every major world nation and organization, however I can also see the argument for why that hasn’t happened yet.
As for the WHO, it is simply remarkable how they have been put on a leash by the Chinese Government, and I doubt the claim that the WHO has the power to invite Taiwan. Maybe they do in theory, but in reality they are being held hostage by a Chinese government which fully intends to keep their island enemies away from the world stage.
I am in full agreement with you on the political and practical importance of having Taiwan’s full participation, and I would very much like to see them at the WHA. However, I am doubtful this will happen until the communist government of China has met its reckoning for the crimes it has committed against the world, against its own people, and against Taiwan.
Now Is the Time for a Reshaping of the WHO
According to the official numbers provided by the Chinese Communist Party, almost 83,000 people have been infected with the Coronavirus in mainland China, and around 4,600 have died. Of course, these numbers are most likely much lower than the actual count. A report done by the American Enterprise Institute estimates the number of cases in China has exceeded two million.
On the sovereign island nation of Taiwan—which lays approximately 110 miles off the coast of China—there have been a total of 440 cases and a mere seven deaths. Seven deaths!
In addition to their hugely successful response to the virus, Taiwan was alerting the WHO of “the risk of human-to-human transmission” back in December. Remember when the WHO was parroting Chinese propaganda in January, and telling the world that COVID-19 could not be spread through human-to-human contact?
The WHO’s recent attempt to exclude Taiwan from the virtual World Health Assembly session later this month is just another example of the UN’s willingness to cozy up to the CCP. The UN and the WHO have become avenues for the Chinese to export their communist message around the world. This pandemic has shined a light on the glaring issues within the UN and is hopefully forcing nations around the globe to take a hard look at the state of our global organizations.
The US needs to force the issue. In 2017, the US gave $400 million to the WHO, making the United States the largest financier of the organization. America needs to use its clout within the UN to force a vote on allowing Taiwan into the WHA.
But we should not stop there. This pandemic has given us the opportunity to fundamentally reshape the UN into something better. What is better? Better is a reduction in power, new leadership, and a focus on real issues.
The WHO continues to fail the world miserably. If we can’t get rid of these global organizations, let’s make sure they do their job and only their job.