WHO putting nations at risk by excluding Taiwan from knowledge sharing: US report

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: May 13, 2020, 03.26 PM(IST)

File photo of Tsai Ing-wen . Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The report published on Tuesday by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) claimed that WHO had sidelined Taiwan due to China’s 'immense influence and pressure' on it causing 'critical delays' to health guidance on the coronavirus outbreak for the organisation’s member states.

Denying Taiwan the membership of the World Health Organization during the coronavirus pandemic endangered its citizens and undermined global information sharing, according to a US congressional report.

The report published by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) claimed that WHO had sidelined Taiwan due to China’s ''immense influence and pressure'' on it causing “critical delays” to health guidance on the coronavirus outbreak for the organisation’s member states.

Also read: China berates New Zealand over support for Taiwan at WHO

The brief reports to the US Congress on national security issues.

As per the report ''had the WHO allowed Taiwan’s health experts to share information and best practices in early January, governments around the world could have had more complete information on which to base their public health policies.''

''The WHO’s suppression of information provided by Taiwan and the delayed issuance of its own guidance undermined the national security of the very member states trusting it for authoritative public health guidance.''

Nations including the United States, European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Japan for Taiwan to attend the WHO’s World Health Assembly, which gets under way online on Monday.

Earlier, 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.

The WHO has in the past rejected accusations of favouring Beijing, saying its experts recognised the “very successful response” of Taiwanese health authorities to the pandemic and had worked with them on a technical level.

India has an important role to play as its nominee is set to be the next chairperson of the WHO's executive board for the next three years.

India's strategic allies expect its support to them against China's disproportionate influence at this health body.

China has shown scant regard for India's territorial integrity from calling Aunachal Pradesh their own to funding infrastructure projects in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

The Chinese embassy spokesperson, Wolf Warrior, Ji Rong, launched salvos of persistent tweets prior the WHO session.

Tweets aimed at reminding India that Taiwan is an 'inalienable part of China' and this is the 'widely accepted universal consensus of the international community'

The Chinese embassy in New Delhi also wants India to adhere to the 'one-China principle.'

All eyes will be on the country's strategy, as its External affairs minister S. Jaishankar attended a seven-nation virtual meeting of foreign ministers. This meeting was convened by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.

Reports indicate that the meeting was part of Washington's efforts to gain support for changes at the WHO.

However, the MEA declined to comment on whether Taiwan was discussed.
 

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