Taiwan is rallying international support to challenge pressure from the mainland to exclude the island from a United Nations health meeting this month. Soon after Taiwan’s health authorities acknowledged on Tuesday that Taipei failed to get the necessary invitation from the World Health Organisation to attend the World Health Assembly in Geneva on May 22-31, Japan said it would support the island taking part in the gathering. “We feel Taiwan’s participation in the WHO in some form is desirable in order to strengthen [the world’s] response to dangers to public health,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in Tokyo. No word on Taiwan invite to UN health forum as deadline nears His comment came hours after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen expressed her deep regret that there had been no invitation from the WHO before the online registration deadline earlier this week. Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council also issued a statement protesting against the mainland for the WHA snub, saying the move would only harm cross-strait relations. Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province and tries to block Taipei’s presence at global meetings when ties are strained. Taiwan has been an observer at the WHA since 2009 when former president Ma Ying-jeou’s mainland-friendly administration was in power in Taiwan. Why Taiwan cares so much about getting an invitation to the World Health Assembly Taiwanese Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said the island would not give up its efforts and would continue to solicit support from the international community so representatives from the island could join the meeting. Analysts said Taiwan hoped to get as much international support as possible to counter the mainland’s pressure and it was natural for Japan and the United States, with which the Tsai administration hoped to establish a close security alliance, to back its WHA bid. “But other than voicing support, it would be unlikely for Japan and the US to clash with Beijing to get Taipei in the assembly,” said Sun Yang-ming, vice-president of the National Policy Foundation.