Letters to the Editor — June 13, 2020

UNGA Resolution 2758, No excuse to impede Taiwan’s participation of WHO

*It has been more than six months since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in Wuhan, China in January 2020. The world is still suffering from the virus with the unceasing loss of lives in every minute. India, as well as many countries around the world, has shown remarkable courage, resilience and undertaking in working with international community in multi-dimensions to fight with the epidemic and save lives.

Mr. Sourabh Gupta of the Institute for China-America Studies suggested in his article titled “Seizing the moment at the WHO” printed by your esteemed newspaper on 3 June that India, as WHO executive body chair, must fast-track the impartial, independent, and comprehensive review of the WHO’s – and China’s early response to the outbreak. We agree with his suggestion, the review’s findings should highlight areas for improvement, both in the WHO’s leadership and capacity as well as member states’ implementation of the International Health Regulations.

Nevertheless, Mr. Gupta also mentioned that when Taiwan last attended at the WHA as an observer in 2016, it did so under the aegis of UN General Assembly Resolution 2758. Taiwan’s unwillingness to concede this basis for attendance is nothing to do with Chinese ostracism. It must be pointed out that Mr. Gupta’s above-mentioned statement has been a complete misleading. As a matter of fact, UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 does not address the issue of Taiwan, nor does it authorize the People’s Republic of China to represent Taiwan. Taiwan is a free and democratic nation, and only its democratically elected government has the right to represent the Taiwanese people in international organizations.

Though Taiwan was not invited to take part in this year’s WHA, support for Taiwan in the international community has been unprecedentedly strong and widespread. Given the global applause and respect Taiwan has earned for its performance in containing Covid-19 pandemic, and prospects of greater contribution Taiwan can make to the global health system, Taiwan shall be included in all WHO meetings, mechanisms and activities. As the WHA executive body chair, with wisdom and foresight, India and like-minded countries may find ways to engage with Taiwan in the WHO arena.

Taiwan has comprehensive and robust public health and medical system, and Taiwan model has successfully contained Covid-19. These efforts and achievements have been clear for all to see. For the wellbeing of the entire world, the international community should firmly stop China to continue hindering Taiwan’s comprehensive and unconditional participation in WHO.

Amb. Chung-Kwang Tien


Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 10:01:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-june-13-2020/article31816281.ece

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