Taiwan says it does not need Beijing’s permission to take part in WHO’s online coronavirus meeting
- Excluded from the World Health Organisation on mainland China’s objections, Taipei said it dealt directly with organisation on outbreak
- Beijing and the WHO say they ensured Taiwan was kept up to date with virus developments
But in a small diplomatic breakthrough for the island – which mainland China regards as a wayward province – its health experts were this week allowed to attend an online technical meeting on the virus.
The Chinese foreign ministry said that was because Beijing gave approval for Taiwan’s participation. Taiwan foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said China was trying to take credit for something it did not deserve.
“The participation of our experts at this WHO forum was an arrangement made by our government and the WHO directly. It did not need China’s approval,” Ou said.
Taiwan’s experts took part in a personal capacity to avoid political disputes, and did not give their nationality when joining the online forum, she said.
Taiwan’s WHO exclusion became another point of contention between China and the United States last week, after the US ambassador to the UN in Geneva told the WHO’s executive board that the agency should deal directly with Taipei.
Mainland China, which said Beijing adequately represents Taiwan at the WHO, accused the US of a political “hype-up” about the issue.
Beijing and the WHO said they had ensured Taiwan was kept up to date with virus developments and that communication with the island was smooth.
Taipei said that it alone had the right to represent the island’s 23 million people, that it has never been a part of the People’s Republic of China, and that it has no need to be represented by it.
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