WW3 fears surge as China ‘obstructs’ Taiwan from key WHO meeting amid soaring tensions

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The US mission in Geneva has already urged WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite Taiwan to the World Health Assembly meeting set to take place this week. Beijing has claimed Taiwan as its own but the island is independently ruled from mainland China.

On Sunday evening, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said it had not yet been invited to the virtual WHO meeting of 194 member states.

It said: “The Foreign Ministry expresses strong regret and dissatisfaction at China’s obstruction of Taiwan participating in the WHO and the WHO’s continuing to neglect the health and human rights of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people.”

The ministry added that the WHO’s refusal to invite Taiwan to the meeting due to the political situation makes a mockery of the organisation’s claim to promote “health for all”.

The independent island has been blocked from most global organisations due to China’s political objections.

Beijing considers Taiwan one of its own provinces under the ‘One-China policy’ and deputes any country who thinks otherwise.

But the WHO have said it is up to member states to decide whether to invite Taiwan to sit in the virtual WHA meeting.

Taiwan has been praised over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, the island marked 200 days without domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases.

Authorities in Taiwan acted early in the pandemic to stop the spread of the virus through strict control measures and test and tracing facilities.

Its close proximity and ties with China meant that it was particularly vulnerable at the start of the pandemic.

In total Taiwan has recorded 7 deaths related to coronavirus and over 570 COVID-19 cases.

The US has backed Taiwan in its efforts to take part in the meeting which has angered China.

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On Friday, China’s mission to the United Nations in Geneva condemned the “distorted” US comments on Taiwan.

It claimed that the island can only take part in the meeting if it admits to being part of China under one sovereign state.

Taiwan’s Government has repeatedly refused to agree to China’s demands.

But on Monday, WHO member countries rejected the US backed appeal to allow Taiwan to attend the meeting.

Washington, under Donald Trump’s administration, has previously expressed its intentions to quit from the WHO due to what it described as pro-China bias.

Assembly President Keva Bain said a committee had recommended not to approve the proposal to allow Taiwan to be included as an observer.

China’s ambassador Chen Xu insisted that the proposal to include the island “violates the purpose and principles of the UN Charter and rejects the ‘One China’ principle”.

Despite Taiwan’s coronavirus success, the island has complained that its exclusion makes it harder to fight the pandemic.

The WHO has said it cooperates with Taiwan on health issues including the coronavirus pandemic.

The organisation said the island has been given the help it needs.

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