Taipei, Taiwan – Taiwan and its supporters have been campaigning hard to see him return as an observer to the World Health Assembly, the governing body of the World Health Organization, which is due to meet in from 24 May.
The success of Taiwan’s manipulation of COVID-19 for more than a year and a half has drawn attention to Taiwan’s absence from the WHA, which it has not attended since President Tsai’s election. Ing-wen of 2016.
U.S. lawmakers have regularly called on Taiwan to return as an observer in recent years, but this time the G7 has given its support behind Taiwan, while a coordinated social media campaign this year under the hashtag #LetTaiwanHelp has been expanded to include legislators from Europe, Australia. , Canada and New Zealand.
In late April, 16 members of the Interparliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) released a campaign video urging the WHA to invite Taiwan, coinciding with an increase in tweets from U.S. Congress and Department of State lawmakers. ‘State of the United States.
“In the past, efforts outside Congress have focused on sending letters to the WHO or the Executive Branch or to overseas capitals to call for support for Taiwan’s inclusion. This year, however, there were a much more public and therefore more far-reaching approach, ”said Jessica Drun, a non-resident fellow at the U.S.-based Project 2049 Institute.
“This led parliamentarians from all over the world and from all party lines. He was also able to grow organically on the social media platform, generating statements from other leaders as well as public figures and activists,” he said.
Taiwan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tien Chung-kwang has said the government will continue to wait for an invitation until the last minute, as it uses the hashtag #LetTaiwanHelp to generate support and the new hashtag #TaiwanIsHelping to promote their donations of oxygen tanks and other medical supplies to affected countries like India.
Yeh Ching-chuan, who attended the WHA in 2009 as an observer when he was health minister, says that at that time Taiwan was able to gather about 15 experts to attend scientific sessions and present topics such as the successful national insurance program. of the island.
“It’s a short meeting,” Yeh said.
“The WHA is only two days and then there are the scientific meetings, but it is significant, the participation. For those countries that do not have a diplomatic relationship with Taiwan, they are still interested in some fields and get in touch with our experts even after they return. ”
Great meeting with Minister Chen of Taiwan to discuss the ongoing pandemic and global health issues. The United States supports Taiwan’s ability to access vaccines, its contributions to health security, and its return to observation in the United States. #WHA #LetTaiwanHelp pic.twitter.com/xC4cPoFSZm
– Office of Global Affairs, HHS (@HHS_Global) May 21, 2021
Taiwan faces challenges with a wave of coronavirus, proving that the disease knows no borders. Taiwan needs to be included in the WHO.
– Judy Sgro (@JudySgroMP) May 20, 2021
To date, the island had fewer than 1,200 cases of coronavirus and 12 deaths, although infection rates in Taipei and the city of New Taipei are now rising after a cluster-linked outbreak that began with a group of China Airlines pilots in early May.
Formally known as the Republic of China, Taiwan originally represented China in the WHO and the WHA, but was expelled from the organizations in 1972, a year after Beijing was formally admitted to the United Nations.
Taiwan was invited to attend an observer from 2009 to 2016 during Ma Ying-jeou’s presidency, which is relatively favorable to China, but that offer was canceled once Tsai took office.
Since its elections, Beijing, which claims the self-governing island, has pushed for the limitation of Taiwan’s international presence and participation even in non-political organizations such as the WHO and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). .
The number of countries with which Taiwan has maintained formal diplomatic relations has also declined since Tsai became president, with only 15 states recognizing Taipei above Beijing.
Despite this, growing fear of China’s influence in Europe has also led Taiwan allies in unlikely places like Lithuania, the Czech Republic and the European Parliament.
Prior to the WHA, the Czech Senate passed a resolution calling for Taiwan’s participation in “all WHO meetings, mechanisms and activities,” while Lithuanian and Czech lawmakers participate in the IPAC, along with representatives of 10 other European countries.
“A couple of years ago, Taiwan was not seen as a major player in either Europe’s European strategy or countries.” [individual] strategies. This has obviously changed due to developments in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, the coronavirus pandemic and the US administration are focusing on the island, ”said Ivana Karásková, a Chinese researcher and project coordinator at the ‘Association for International Affairs of Prague.
“As for the practical implications, it may not change the island’s isolation in international organizations and forums, but it clearly indicates that countries are willing to commit to Taiwan.”