China says Taiwan’s bid to attend key WHO meeting will fail

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BEIJING: Taiwan will fail in its bid to join a key meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) amid efforts to rein in the novel coronavirus as its efforts are based on politics, not health concerns, China said yesterday.

Self-ruled Taiwan has been lobbying to attend, as an observer, the May 18-19 ministerial meeting of the WHO’s decision-making body, the World Health Assembly (WHA), and has won high-level support from the United States and several U.S. allies, including Japan.

China, under its “one China” policy, considers Taiwan a breakaway province ineligible for state-to-state relations or membership of bodies like the WHO. Taiwan has diplomatic relations with only 15 countries, almost all small and developing.

Six of the WHO’s 194 member states had proposed inviting Taiwan as an observer to the WHA meeting, the WHO’s principal legal officer, Steven Solomon, told a U.N. briefing in Geneva yesterday.

He named eSwatini (Swaziland), Marshall Islands, Nicaragua, Palau, St. Lucia and Paraguay, all of which recognise Taiwan over China. Solomon said that since 1972, the WHA recognised Beijing as “the only legitimate representative of China” to its meetings and added: “That decision still stands.” —Agenies

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