On May 18, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a strong criticism of the World Health Organization (WHO) for denying Taiwan observer status at the annual World Health Assembly held a few days ago.
Pompeo condemned the exclusion of Taiwan from the meeting that took place virtually, claiming that Director-General of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus “had every legal power and precedent to include Taiwan,” according to The Washington Times.
“He instead chose not to invite Taiwan under pressure from the People’s Republic of China [Chinese Communist Party],” Pompeo said, adding, “The director-general’s lack of independence deprives the Assembly of Taiwan’s renowned scientific expertise on pandemic disease, and further damages the WHO’s credibility and effectiveness at a time when the world needs it the most.”
Because of the exemplary role that Taiwan has played in the face of the outbreak of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Virus, more and more countries are recognizing its leadership and applauding the assertive measures that it has chosen during the pandemic, and are urging the WHO to include it in its agenda.
Although Taiwan was granted observer status at the WHO’s annual assembly from 2009 to 2016, the presidency was held by Ma Ying-jeou, a politician known for having a largely conciliatory stance toward Beijing.
On May 18, the Taiwanese government testified that its efforts to participate in the annual WHO assembly continued but later it decided to postpone the issue given the pressure being exerted by the CCP.
According to the South China Morning Post, Taiwan’s participation in the assembly that was held on May 18 required the acceptance of the 194 member countries of the WHO, however some nations in the Asian region preferred to distance themselves from the appointment of the island to avoid facing disputes with the CCP.
Taiwan’s participation in the assembly also attracted the attention of other countries in the region that defend democracy, such as Japan, which together with the United States drafted a letter addressed to the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Germany asking then to cosign a request to the director-general of the WHO to grant Taiwan observer status again.
Meanwhile, the U.S. secretary of state’s statements exacerbated Beijing’s anger and today, May 20, from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs they condemned his words of praise for Taiwan and in particular to President Tsai Ing Wen for starting her second term, assuring that it caused serious damage to Sino-U.S. relations.
Congratulations to Dr. Tsai Ing-wen on the commencement of your second-term as Taiwan’s President. Taiwan’s vibrant democracy is an inspiration to the region and the world. With President Tsai at the helm, our partnership with Taiwan will continue to flourish.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 19, 2020
According to Fox News, a statement released on the Foreign Ministry’s website stated, “China urges the U.S. side to immediately correct its mistakes.”
“The Chinese side will take necessary countermeasures to respond to the above-mentioned erroneous actions by the U.S. side. And the U.S. side should bear the consequences arising therefrom,” the statement added.
The prolonged tension that has taken place since the 1949 civil war between China and Taiwan is due to Taiwan’s insistence on advocating for democracy and distancing itself from the political power of the CCP, which has in various ways exerted pressure to establish the “one country, two systems” policy, a measure that directly affects Taiwanese sovereignty.