China: New Zealand's Taiwan comments breached one-China principle
An exterior view of the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. /Xinhua

An exterior view of the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. /Xinhua

China has lodged solemn representations with New Zealand over its diplomat's comments on supporting China's Taiwan region to join the World Health Organization (WHO) as an observer, which severely breached the one-China principle, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a regular press conference on Monday that China's stance is clear and consistent on the issue of Taiwan region's any sort of involvement in the international health organization.

"It should be dealt with under the one-China principle," said Zhao.

China has made sure that the Taiwan region is participating in global health affairs and it will be able to timely respond to any public health events, the spokesperson added.

The remarks came after the New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters told media on Tuesday that "our position is to join a number of countries in seeking to get them put back on the WHO as an observer."

WHO's highest decision-making body World Health Assembly (WHA) who grants observer status ruled that only qualified sovereign states can apply.

Zhao pointed out that the entire thing of Taiwan trying to get an observer status was in fact taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to seek the so-called "Taiwan independence."

He reminded New Zealand that the one-China principle is the political foundation of their bilateral relationships, and such wrongful comments over Taiwan will only undermine their relationships. 

China is willing to develop friendly cooperative relationship with New Zealand on the basis of mutual respect and equity, Zhao stressed, but it is also determined to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.