WHO sides with China in refusal to invite Taiwan to annual summit

The World Health Organization claims it cannot invite Taiwan because of “divergent views” after China says it "deplores and opposes" inclusion of Taipei.
Sam Edwards High Level, Alberta

An annual international health summit is coming up and The World Health Organization (WHO) claims it cannot invite Taiwan because of "divergent views," according to the National Review. This follows China’s statements that it "deplores and opposes" the inclusion of Taipei in the event.

On Monday, Steven Solomon, the WHO’s principal legal officer, told reporters that the organization's Director-General, Tedros Adhanom is not able to invite Taiwan to the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting if international body members did not agree. Taiwan is not a WHO member.

"To put it crisply, director-generals only extend invitations when it’s clear that member states support doing so, that director-generals have a mandate, a basis to do so," said Solomon. "Today however, the situation is not the same. Instead of clear support, there are divergent views among member states and no basis there for—no mandate—for the DG to extend an invitation."

Last week, Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State said that Taiwan should be included in the WHA meeting by Tedros because "he has the power to do, and as his predecessors have done on multiple occasions."

Pompeo's statement was supported by Canada, New Zealand, Germany and Australia but China was against the claim and said that those who support it "severely violate the one-China principle."

Tedros made accusations against Taiwan last month of racist “attacks” about the way he handled the coronavirus outbreak. Taiwan denied the allegation calling it “unprovoked and untrue.”

The claim from Tedros followed accusations from Taiwan that the WHO ignored warnings from the country in December that the virus could possibly transmit from human-to-human.

On January 14, the WHO tweeted that "Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission."

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Sam Edwards
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