Japan calls for Taiwan's participation in World Health Organization assembly

Wednesday, 20 May, 2020

The European Union's 27-member bloc and other countries, meanwhile, called for an independent evaluation of WHO's initial response to the coronavirus pandemic "to review experience gained and lessons learned". The meeting is shaping up as the latest skirmish between China, where the coronavirus was first detected, and critics like the USA over who gets to set the narrative about the origins of and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Tedros did not refer to the latest threat against the world health body by Trump, who has accused it of being China-centric.

"We feel disappointed and angry about WHO's decision of not inviting Taiwan to join this year's WHA", Yi-Chun Lo, deputy director general at Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, said Tuesday. But the potential for an independent probe, even one not initially tasked with investigating an individual country's response, to turn up damning or embarrassing information is great.

That has caused growing alarm in Beijing, which says any formal declaration of independence by Taiwan would cross a red line.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday congratulated Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-Wen on her re-election, praised the country's coronavirus response and called it a reliable partner, in a statement that sharply contrasted with recent USA criticism of China, which claims Taiwan as a province.

"I think what it illustrates is a broad view that given the experience of COVID-19 - over 300,000 deaths, millions of people around the world losing their jobs, the impact on economies from one corner of the globe to the other - that there is a strong view that it is appropriate to engage in a review of what has happened", Payne said.

Earlier on Monday Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian echoed Xi's support for an investigation in the virus" origins, but argued that the draft plans are "a totally different thing from what's been called an "independent global inquiry". "Responding to his lies is a waste of everyone's time".

"The US funds $400 million to $500 million to the World Health Organization each year", Trump said at the time, noting that China "contributes roughly $40 million".

An EU source hailed the draft as "ambitious", and pointed out that if it passes by consensus as expected, it would mark the first time a global forum has achieved unanimous support for a text on the COVID-19 response.

None of 194 World Health Organization member states, including the U.S., objected to the resolution sponsored by the European Union on behalf of more than 100 countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Turkey.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also urged worldwide cooperation to defeat the pandemic. "So no country can solve this problem alone".

The source said countries had not shied away from thorny topics, including a call for more World Health Organization reform after determining that its capacities "have proven insufficient to prevent a crisis of this magnitude". "We must work together".

Another 2.3 per cent of Taiwan's people are members of indigenous groups who are not ethnically Chinese. "If this virus is teaching us anything, it's humility".

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro says the Chinese government is allegedly trying to hack our scientists' networks to steal coronavirus vaccine information and later argues China could have contained coronavirus by not letting Wuhan citizens travel overseas.