Taiwan will not be welcome at a key World Health Organization (WHO) meeting this week to discuss the global Covid-19 pandemic because China has put its foot down.
The island’s foreign ministry accused Beijing of “obstruction” on Sunday, saying Taipei has yet to receive an invitation to the virtual meeting of 194 member states, according to Reuters.
“The foreign ministry expresses strong regret and dissatisfaction at China’s obstruction of Taiwan participating in WHO and WHO’s continuing to neglect the health and human rights of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people,” it said in a statement.
The WHO’s refusal to invite Taiwan based on political considerations makes a mockery of the body’s “health for all” claim, the ministry added.
Taiwan is excluded from most global organisations such as WHO due to the objections of China, which considers the island one of its provinces, rather than an independent country.
Last week the US urged WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite the island nation to WHO’s decision-making body, the World Health Assembly (WHA).
WHO says it is up to member states to invite Taiwan to observe the WHA meeting.
Taiwan has increased lobbying this year to take part in WHO, angering China. Beijing has criticised the “distorted” US favourable comments on Taiwan, saying the island can only take part if it admits to being part of China, something Taipei’s government has always refused to do.
WHO says it cooperates with Taiwan on various health matters including on aspects of the pandemic.
Taiwan has won high praise internationally for quickly containing its own Covid-19 outbreak.