lørdag 16. mai 2020

Taiwan must accept Chinese status to attend WHO, says Beijing

Beijing has stepped up the pressure on European states to reject Taiwan’s call to be represented at next week’s assembly of the World Health Organization, arguing that its presence can only be justified if it accepts that it is part of China. The World Health Assembly is being held virtually on Monday, and Taiwan’s attendance – as well as a possible international inquiry into the start of the pandemic – are likely to be the two big political flashpoints between China and the west. Chinese diplomats have been contacting governments across Europe to limit the diplomatic support for Taiwan’s attendance, targeting northern and eastern European states. Maintaining collective EU unity on China is proving difficult.

But in a letter to the Guardian, the former Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former president of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski and the former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt argue that Taiwan should be permitted to attend because of its pioneering response to the pandemic, which has drawn on the lessons of the 2003 Sars outbreak.

“It is regretful that geopolitics has prevented Taiwan from fully accessing the forums and services of the World Health Organization – not least as the WHO could have benefited from its expertise,” the authors argue.