Taiwan

[OPINION] A force for good: Inviting Taiwan to the 75th World Health Assembly

Peiyung Hsu
[OPINION] A force for good: Inviting Taiwan to the 75th World Health Assembly
'By continuing to exclude Taiwan, WHO is severely jeopardizing global health'

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe since it began in 2020. It is very encouraging to learn that the Philippines is in full swing of economic recovery as nearly all indicators point to higher growth for the Philippines this year and in 2023. The number of new COVID-19 cases also continues to decline nationwide, and we sincerely hope this trend can sustain its stability.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded the world that disease knows no borders. Having been left isolated and unsupported during previous epidemics, Taiwan deeply understands the importance of mutual assistance and strengthening resilience to creatively meet challenges. Taiwan emerges as an indispensable partner on the path to global postpandemic recovery and hopes to work with the World Health Organization (WHO) and nations worldwide to jointly overcome this crisis.

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In line with this, Taiwan has been standing with the Philippines since the onset of the pandemic. In July 2021, the Republic of China (Taiwan) donated 200 oxygen concentrators to help local hospitals in the Philippines enhance their capacity to treat COVID-19 patients. In March 2022, Taiwan and the Philippines agreed to recognize each other’s vaccination certificates, which will certainly stimulate economic growth in the post-pandemic era.

These efforts exemplify Taiwan’s unwavering commitment to working with international partners in addressing public health threats while safeguarding our shared values of freedom, democracy, and rules-based international order. 

However, due to political considerations, the WHO has been unable to uphold professionalism and neutrality. By continuing to exclude Taiwan, WHO is severely jeopardizing global health. Taiwan stands firm in its commitment to engage in international health care cooperation and calls on the WHO to maintain a professional and neutral stance, and repudiate inappropriate political interference.

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Why is Taiwan excluded from the WHO?

Only the popularly elected government of Taiwan can represent its 23.5 million people at WHO and protect their right to health. While we congratulate the people in the Philippines on successfully holding 2022 general election, we sincerely hope that our Filipino brothers and sisters could also voice out their support for a beacon of democracy — Taiwan to be invited to the 75th World Health Assembly and institutionalized as well as regular participation in all WHO meetings, mechanisms, and activities. – Rappler.com

Peiyung Hsu is Representative for the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines.