US urges WHO assembly to include Taiwan

US urges WHO assembly to include Taiwan

Masked medical staff escort a patient in January 2021 outside the Taoyuan General Hospital as Taiwan contained a small cluster of Covid-19 cases

 ·1 min read  

The United States on Friday renewed calls for the World Health Organization’s decision-making body to include Taiwan over China’s objections, pointing to the island’s strong record on fighting Covid.

The World Health Assembly will gather in Geneva starting on May 24, its latest annual meeting in the midst of the global pandemic that has killed more than three million people.

“Taiwan’s outstanding control of Covid-19 and its donations of PPE demonstrate its strong contribution to global health,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said, referring to personal protective equipment.

“Taiwan has some of the world’s leading experts in combatting this disease, and we need to hear from Taiwan at the World Health Assembly,” he wrote on Twitter.

The US push is the latest effort to support Taiwan internationally by President Joe Biden’s administration, following the substance if not always the tone of former president Donald Trump’s hawkish stance on China.

Biden has reversed a withdrawal from the UN body, which Trump blamed for not confronting China on the virus amid criticism of his own handling of the pandemic in the United States.

The assembly last year failed to bring in Taiwan due to objections from Beijing, which considers the self-governing democracy to be a territory awaiting reunification and objects to any international recognition for it.

Despite its proximity to mainland China, where Covid was first detected in late 2019, Taiwan has been hailed as a global success story in containing the virus by taking early and aggressive action.