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Threat to global health posed by Taiwan’s exclusion from WHO, Minister

The continued exclusion of Taiwan from the World Health Organization (WHO) due to China’s activities, the health minister of Taiwan warned on Sunday, poses a threat to international health.

Hsueh Jui-yuan stated at the Geneva Press Club that Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO gravely jeopardizes not only the 23.5 million people of Taiwan’s right to health but also seriously jeopardizes the WHO’s efforts to achieve health for all and prevents the global exchange of knowledge.

He spoke just before the World Health Assembly (WHA), which will occur in Geneva from May 21 to May 30, got underway.

“Taiwan’s participation in the WHA and WHO is a matter of health, not a political issue,” the minister declared.

Hsueh emphasized that the Covid-19 outbreak showed the importance of international cooperation in addressing shared health issues.

And Taiwan has demonstrated that it is a key ally in the struggle against COVID-19, he added.

Since 2017, China has prohibited Taiwan from participating in the WHA because Beijing sees Taiwan as a province that has to be united with the mainland rather than a country.

On Monday, WHO nations will discuss whether Taiwan should participate in the WHA as an observer, but recent appeals for this have failed.

The conference heard from Nicolas Walder, a member of Switzerland’s national parliament, who noted that Taiwan is the fifth-largest economic partner in Asia for his nation and that it “shares many values with us, including a commitment to democracy and human rights.”

“Taiwan is excluded from the WHO despite its full and exemplary collaboration with the WHO and member states during the health crisis and other public health issues,” Walder claimed.

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