Taiwan Affairs Office slams DPP exploiting COVID-19 pandemic for WHO meeting participation
Updated 21:44, 07-May-2020

A spokesperson for Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council criticized Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic for World Health Organization (WHO) membership and participation of the body's annual meeting.

The comment also came after the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday urged the WHO to invite Taiwan to its annual meeting which will be held on May 18 and 19.

Spokesperson Ma Xiaoguang Thursday expressed strong opposition towards both the DPP authorities and the U.S. official.

"DPP authorities used the COVID-19 pandemic to repeatedly hype the issue of participation in the World Health Assembly, it's out of political plot rather than concern of public health."

He noted it's also politicizing the virus and sending wrong signals to "Taiwan independence" separatists for people in the United States by openly supporting Taiwan's accession to the WHO.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand also voiced strong objection after New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters said he has always personally (supported) Taiwan's joining the WHO.

As a province of China, Taiwan is not eligible for the membership of WHO, which is a specialized UN agency composed of sovereign states, said the spokesperson.

There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is part of China, stressed the spokesperson, adding that the one-China principle is a common consensus of the international community and upholding this principle is a basic norm in the international community.

The Taiwan region's participation in international organizations, including the WHO, must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle.

People wear face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus as they ride a bus in China's Taiwan, April 21, 2020. /AP

People wear face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus as they ride a bus in China's Taiwan, April 21, 2020. /AP

The central government attaches great importance to the health and welfare of people in Taiwan and has made reasonable and appropriate arrangements regarding the region's participation in international health affairs based on the one-China principle, said the spokesperson. 

After the outbreak of COVID-19, the central government has frequently and promptly shared relevant information with the Taiwan region, the spokesperson noted.

In mid-January, the central government received experts from the Taiwan region to have a field visit to Wuhan and hold discussions with experts from the Chinese mainland.

Earlier, the WHO has also reiterated that the People's Republic of China (PRC) is the only legitimate representative of China within the UN system.

"Some 49 years ago, the UN and WHO decided that there was only one legitimate representative of China within the UN system. And that is the People's Republic of China," Steven A. Solomon, principal legal officer of the WHO, told a news conference on Monday. 

Read more: WHO reiterates PRC's status as only legitimate representative of China within UN system

(Cover photo: The World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. /VCG)