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Taiwan protests exclusion from WHO annual conference

Taiwan on Tuesday protested against not being invited to the World Health Organisation’s annual conference in Geneva this month following pressure from China.

Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, is a state in East Asia, neighbouring states include the People’s Republic of China to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south.

“China’s pressing the WHO to exclude Taiwan violates universal values and ignores the health rights of 23 million people,’’ Taiwan’s Foreign ministry spokesman Andrew Lee told newsmen.

It is the third year in a row that the island nation, which China claims as a breakaway province, has not been invited to the annual conference of the WHO’s decision-making body.

Online registration for the annual conference, which runs from May 20 to 28 this year, ended on Monday.

However, Taiwan did not receive an invitation.

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Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, said on Monday that China opposed Taiwan’s participation due to Beijing’s “one-China principle’’.

According to Amanda Mansour, spokeswoman of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de-facto U.S. embassy, said that the U.S. criticised China for interfering in Taiwan’s participation in international affairs.

“Excluding Taiwan from global health, safety and law enforcement networks creates dangerous loopholes that can be exploited by malicious international and transnational actors.

“In organisations that require statehood for membership, the United States supports Taiwan’s meaningful participation.

“This includes ICAO, INTERPOL, WHO, and the more than 60 international organisations in which Taiwan participates,’’ Mansour said.

Taiwan has had its own government since 1949, when the Chinese Nationalists fled there after losing a civil war to the Communists.

Beijing considers the democracy part of its territory.  (NAN)