Beijing reiterates one China policy after reports say Beijing considers Taiwan WHO membership
Updated 19:35, 01-Apr-2020

Beijing's Taiwan affairs office said on Wednesday that the question of Taiwan's membership in the World Health Organization (WHO) must be discussed under the one China policy, denying reports saying China is considering Taiwan's observer status in the World Health Assembly. 

Some Taiwan media is spreading rumors regarding the region's membership in the WHO, Zhu Fenglian, the spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council told reporters.

Zhu reiterated that the issue regarding Taiwan's membership must be dealt in accordance with the one China policy.

There's no alternative, she stressed.

Taiwanese authorities have complained that it had been international ignored since the COVID-19 outbreak. It accused the WHO and Beijing of keeping it out during the outbreak, which amounts to playing politics with Taiwanese lives.

But both the WHO and the Chinese mainland have said Taiwan had been provided with the help it needed.

On Sunday, the WHO said the question of Taiwan's membership is up to member states not its own staff, but the UN body said it is "working closely with all health authorities who are facing the current coronavirus pandemic, including Taiwanese health experts."

The WHO has been working with Taiwanese health experts and authorities during the virus outbreak "following established procedures to facilitate a fast and effective response and ensure connection and information flow."

Taiwan authorities get access to information under the International Health Regulations and two health experts from the island took part in a WHO-organized forum last month along other scientists from around the world on how to tackle the coronavirus, it added.

Meanwhile, the Taiwanese authorities have repeatedly offered to share their knowledge and experience with the world as part of a "Taiwan can help" campaign. On Wednesday, the island's leader Tsai Ing-wen said it would make some tangible actions including the donation of 10 million masks to the countries most in need, including Spain, Italy, the UK and the U.S.

When was asked about the move, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying warned the Taiwanese authorities not to play a political game over the coronavirus.

"I'm not aware of the details but I remember Taiwan banned mask exports when COVID-19 started on the mainland," Hua told reporters during Wednesday's press briefing, referring to a temporary exports ban imposed by Taiwanese authorities on January 24.

"If the Taiwanese authorities are willing to help now, we are all pleased to see this. But I want to remind that if certain politicians try to play a political game over the virus, they need to be cautious with what they do."

(Cover: Pedestrians wear face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus on the streets of Taipei, March 31, 2020. /AP)