US, China spar over Taiwan at World Health Assembly

WION New Delhi May 20, 2020, 10.07 PM(IST) Edited By: Palki Sharma

Taiwan-China Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

In a statement, Pompeo said that Dr Tedros has the power, and the precedent to include Taiwan. Clearly, the support that Taiwan needed wasn't there.

Taiwan has stayed firm in front of China by refusing to accept the "one country, two systems" model and it does not want to bow before Beijing's will.

Also Read: In inaugural speech after re-election, Taiwan President challenges China

Taiwan still wants the observer status at the World Health Organisation(WHO) and has been pushing for it aggressively. It wanted to attend the World Health Assembly but, its campaign came to a grinding halt.

The World Health Assembly concluded on Tuesday. It went on for two days as leaders from around the world made speeches. There was even a resolution for a probe into the response.

But Taiwan was kept out. In fact, the demand for an observer status to Taiwan was not even part of the agenda. Before the World Health Assembly, the world was singing Taiwan's praises. It's response to the coronavirus is among the world's best. The argument was that Taiwan's example could help the rest of the world.

However, the question is what derailed Taiwan's campaign? The United States was leading the effort trying to convince allies to support Taiwan.

After the failed bid, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo blamed it on politics. He issued a statement criticising the World Health Organisation. Pompeo blamed WHO director general Dr Tedros. In a statement, he said that Dr Tedros has the power, and the precedent to include Taiwan. Clearly, the support that Taiwan needed wasn't there.

The United States admitted it during the World Health Assembly. The statement was made by an American diplomat rebutting China. He was responding to the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations who had earlier objected to America's statement of support to Taiwan.

Both the United States and China were sparring on Taiwan till the end of the assembly. Taiwan's status disrupted the most important meeting on public health. The World Health Assembly did not have much to offer this time except for that one resolution demanding for a probe into the COVID-19 global response. 

However, irrespective of the lack of diplomatic support, Taiwan will emerged stronger out of the pandemic. China may have managed to ward off the Taiwan threat for now but, Taiwan is not out of the picture, just yet.