China on Monday berated New Zealand for its support for Taiwan’s participation at the World Health Organisation (WHO).
China, however, said the country should “stop making wrong statements” on the issue to avoid damaging bilateral ties.
Taiwan, with the strong support of the U.S., has stepped up its lobbying to be allowed to take part as an observer at coming week’s World Health Assembly (WHA), the WHO’s decision-making body, to China’s anger.
Taiwan is excluded from the WHO due to the objections of China, which views the island as one of its provinces.
Taiwan noted that this has created a dangerous gap in the coronavirus fight, and has accused the WHO of bending to Chinese pressure.
New Zealand’s finance and foreign ministers recently backed a role for the Taiwan at the WHO.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, speaking at a daily news conference in Beijing, said New Zealand’s comments were a severe violation of the “one China” principle, which states that Taiwan is part of China.
“We express our strong dissatisfaction with the statements and resolutely oppose it, and we have already made stern representations with New Zealand.
“The one China principle is the political foundation of China and New Zealand’s relationship.
“China urges New Zealand to strictly abide by the ‘one China principle’ and immediately stop making wrong statements on Taiwan, to avoid damaging our bilateral relationship,” Zhao said.
China has denounced Taiwan’s WHO attempts as a political stunt aimed at promoting the island’s formal independence, and said it would fail in its efforts.
In Taipei, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told parliament that in order to be able to break through China’s influence on the body there needed to be “even stronger international lung power”.
“This year’s international atmosphere is relatively beneficial for Taiwan’s participation, and so the pressure on the WHO secretariat and China is greater and greater,” Wu said.
Taiwan attended the WHA as an observer from 2009 to 2016 when Taipei-Beijing relations were warmer.
China blocked further participation after the election of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, whom China views as a separatist, an accusation she rejects.
China said it has the right to represent Taiwan on the international stage, adding that Taipei has been provided with all the help and information it needs during the pandemic, something Taiwan disputes.
Taiwan has reported only 440 coronavirus cases and seven deaths, thanks to early and effective disease prevention and control work.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
China is on the verge of eliminating malaria, a senior Chinese health official told a side-gathering during the World Health Assembly (WHA) at which Beijing was praised for its efforts in helping other county’s fight the lethal disease.
Cui Li, vice minister of China’s National Health Commission, made this known in his address at an event titled “Country-led and country-owned efforts on malaria elimination to achieving universal health coverage” at Geneva’s Palais des Nations during the annual WHA, .
“In 2017, for the first time, zero indigenous cases were reported in China, thus the efforts have had a significant impact on the country’s elimination roadmap,” said Cui at the event that was co-sponsored by China.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus thanked China for its sponsorship role along with Myanmar and Sri Lanka and praised China for what is doing to fund the fight against malaria.
Tedros said that since the year 2000, good progress had been made, but “we are at the crossroads,” while noting that the fight against malaria needs to be sustained.
“We have more than 200 million cases of malaria a year and more than 90 per cent of them are in Africa, so the focus on Africa is important,” said Tedros, an Ethiopian who had specialised in malaria before taking the helm of the WHO in 2017.
Chinese officials has explained that in the case of China, to fulfill and assess the elimination process and achieve the goal of certification by the WHO, China has adopted the county, prefecture, and sub-national verification since 2012.
Cui said that the Ministry of Health in China jointly with 12 ministries issued its National Malaria Elimination Action Plan for the 2010 to 2020 in June 2010, to kick off the country’s campaign to eradicate the disease.
She said the overall goals of the malaria elimination campaign in China were set to achieve complete elimination in the country by 2020.
China is disregarding the health of the people of Taiwan by blocking the island’sparticipation in the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) due to hold in Geneva, Switzerland later this month,
the Taiwan government said.
The WHA is due schedule to hold from May 21 to May 26.
Taiwan’s China policy-making body said late on Monday the exclusion of Taiwan from the WHA for a second
consecutive year showed Beijing’s lack of will to improve relations.
“China’s use of its one-sided political stance, and persistence in suppressing and blocking our participation
in the WHA, disregards Taiwan people’s health safety rights,” the island’s Mainland Affairs Council said in
“Our government expresses its strong condemnation at this unreasonable action,” the council said.
Taiwan is one of China’s most sensitive issues.
The island is claimed by Beijing as its sacred territory and China has never renounced the use of force to
bring under Chinese control what it considers to be a wayward province.
Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations, which recognizes the “one China” policy centered on Beijing,
and it does not formally take part in UN meetings.
Taiwan has, however, in the past been given observer status at some conferences with Beijing’s acquiescence.
But ties between the mainland and the island have worsened since the 2016 election of Taiwan President
Tsai Ing-wen, of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who – unlike the island’s
previous China-friendly administration – has not acknowledged the “one China” principle.
In 2017, Taiwan blamed China for not being given observer status for the WHA meeting.
It said health should not be politicised and barring Taiwan put the health of its people and the world’s
health safety net at risk.
China’s foreign ministry said that Taiwan’s governing party only had itself to blame for the exclusion because
it did not abide by the one-China principle.
“Taiwan’s inability to get an invitation completely lies with the fault of the DPP authorities,” the ministry
said in a statement.
As it did in 2017, Taiwan will send a delegation to Geneva to argue its case and seek meetings with officials
from attending countries and organisations.
Taiwan foreign ministry spokesman Andrew H.C. Lee said the delegation “will work together to push the work
further and strive until the last minute”.
He said more than 10 friends and like-minded countries supported Taiwan’s request and would raise the issue
at the meeting.
From 2009 to 2016, Taiwan participated in WHA meetings as an observer, under the name ‘Chinese Taipei’, a
special arrangement that was agreed on by both sides during Taiwan’s more China-friendly Ma Ying-jeou