WHO Urged to Invite Taiwan to Participate in World Health Assembly

April 28, 2021 Updated: April 28, 2021

An international group of parliamentarians on Tuesday launched a global campaign urging the World Health Organization (WHO) to invite Taiwan to participate in the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA), warning that it is allowing a “dangerous gap in the global network.”

The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) released a video statement featuring 15 legislators from 12 legislatures across Europe, North America, and Australia, all of whom urged the UN agency to allow Taiwan to participate in the 74th WHA in Geneva, Switzerland, scheduled to take place from May 24 to June 1.

The assembly is the WHO’s decision-making body.

The IPAC was established last year to coordinate policies among democratic nations to address the Chinese regime’s threats.

Taiwan is not a WHO member state. But from 2009 to 2016, Taiwan’s health ministers were allowed to take part in the WHA as observers.

Since 2017, Taiwan has been barred by Beijing from taking part in the assembly and its meetings.

Beijing opposes Taiwan from taking part in any international meetings and organizations because it sees the island as a part of its territory, despite the fact that the self-ruled island has a functioning democratic government with its own military, currency, and constitution.

The parliamentarians in their video criticized the WHO for “jeopardizing the health and wellbeing of Taiwan’s 23 million citizens” and creating a “dangerous gap in the global network” by continuing to refuse Taiwan’s participation in the meeting.

In a statement, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) called on the health body to “stop acting as Communist China’s puppet” and accept Taiwan as a member-state.

“We must hold Communist China accountable as they continue to intimidate our peaceful and democratic ally, Taiwan,” Scott said.

Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) accused the WHO of being “heavily influenced” by the Chinese regime “for too long.”

“It’s time for all of us to stand firm and demand that the WHO allow the full participation of Taiwan. Today, I’m joining my colleagues to send a clear message—we need to #LetTaiwanHelp,” he said in a statement on Twitter.

“As the global community continues to struggle to combat COVID, it’s important that [Taiwan] be allowed to share its experience and best practices with the world. Together, we can work to overcome the pandemic and future global health challenges,” added Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Other lawmakers featured in the video included Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rep. and Chair of the House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation Ami Berra, UK MP and former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan-Smith, and Australian Senator Kimberly Kitching.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan thanked IPAC for recognizing the need to allow Taiwan’s participation in the upcoming event.

“Your staunch support of #Taiwan & its right to participate in the activities, mechanisms & meetings of the @WHO like the #WHA is greatly appreciated by the government & the people. Yes! #TaiwanCanHelp,” it said on Twitter.

Frank Fang contributed to this report.