China berates New Zealand over support for Taiwan at WHO

WION Web Team
Beijing, ChinaUpdated: May 12, 2020, 07:12 PM IST

File photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

Taiwan is excluded from the WHO due to the objections of China, which views the island as one of its provinces.

China berated New Zealand for its support for Taiwan's participation at the World Health Organization (WHO), saying the country should "stop making wrong statements" on the issue to avoid damaging bilateral ties. 

Earlier, New Zealand’s foreign minister, Winston Peters had said the country has to stand up for itself after China warned its call for Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) could damage bilateral ties.

Senior ministers in New Zealand said last week Taiwan should be allowed to join the WHO as an observer given its success in limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus

China's foreign ministry also hit out at Taiwan over allegations that Beijing signed a secret agreement with the World Health Organization to exclude the self-ruled island, saying "it is not a secret".

"There is no need for us to sign a memorandum with any international organization to assert that Taiwan is part of China," said Zhao Lijian, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Joseph Wu, the Taiwanese Foreign Minister, told Taipei lawmakers Monday that the Memorandum of Understanding between China and the WHO, signed in 2005 but discovered by Taiwan only in 2007, would hinder the island's participation at the upcoming World Health Assembly and other WHO events.

Wu said Taiwan needed more international support to put pressure on the WHO to allow Taiwan to participate.

However, Zhao dismissed Wu's concerns, saying the MOU already allows for Taiwanese experts to participate in WHO activities.

"The Taiwanese authorities once again are making a fuss of this memorandum," Zhao said. "It is just another manifestation of their attempts to politically manipulate the epidemic issue, which is completely in vain."

Taiwan, with the strong support of the United States, has stepped up its lobbying to be allowed to take part as an observer at next week's World Health Assembly (WHA), the WHO's decision-making body, to China's anger.

Taiwan is excluded from the WHO due to the objections of China, which views the island as one of its provinces.

Taiwan says this has created a dangerous gap in the coronavirus fight, and has accused the WHO of bending to Chinese pressure.