Taiwan Tells WHO That China Has No Right to Represent It

May 5, 2020 Updated: May 5, 2020

TAIPEI, Taiwan—Only Taiwan’s democratically elected government can represent its people on the world stage, not China, its foreign ministry said on May 5, calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to “cast off” China’s control during the CCP virus pandemic.

Taiwan’s exclusion from WHO, because of objections by the regime in Beijing that considers the island to be one of its provinces, has infuriated Taipei, which says this has created a dangerous gap in the global fight against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus.

While Taiwan has been lobbying to attend, as an observer, this month’s meeting of the WHO’s decision-making body, the World Health Assembly (WHA), government and diplomatic sources say China will block the move.

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Taiwan’s Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung gestures during a press conference at the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Taipei, Taiwan, on March 11, 2020. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)

The WHO has recognized the People’s Republic of China as the “one legitimate representative of China,” in keeping with U.N. policy since 1971, and that the question of Taiwan’s attendance was one for the WHO’s 194 member states, Steven Solomon, the WHO’s principal legal officer, said on May 4.

The 1971 decision, under which Beijing assumed the U.N. China seat from Taipei, only resolved the issue of who represented China, not the issue of Taiwan, and didn’t grant China the power to represent Taiwan internationally, Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said.

“Only the democratically elected Taiwanese government can represent Taiwan’s 23 million people in the international community,” she told reporters.

Taiwan Battles Against The Coronavirus Outbreak
People wait in line at a pharmacy to pick up masks pre-ordered online, in Taipei, Taiwan, on March 18, 2020. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images )

The WHO should “cast off the Chinese government’s control,” and let Taiwan fully participate in fighting the CCP virus, Ou said.

“Do not let China’s improper political interference become an obstacle to impeding the world’s united fight against the virus.”

Taiwan attended the World Health Assembly as an observer from 2009-2016 when Taipei-Beijing relations warmed. But China blocked further participation after the election of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who China views as a separatist, a charge she rejects.

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Students wearing face masks as a preventive measure to curb the spread of the COVID-19 CCP virus attend a class at Dajia Elementary School in Taipei, Taiwan, on April 29, 2020. (Sam Yeh /AFP via Getty Images)

The United States has strongly supported Taiwan’s participation at the WHA as an observer, another fault line in Washington-Beijing ties that have been already overshadowed by the Trump administration’s criticism of how China and the WHO have handled the COVID-19 outbreak.

China says Taiwan is adequately represented by Beijing and that Taiwan can only take part in the WHO under Beijing’s “one China” policy, in which Taiwan would have to accept that it is part of China, something Tsai’s government won’t do.

Taiwan has reported far fewer cases of the new CCP virus than many of its neighbors, because of early and effective detection and prevention work.

By Ben Blanchard. Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.