Taiwan, with the strong backing of major Western powers, had been lobbying for access to the forum, which opened on Monday, as an observer. But no invitation came, the government said. In a joint statement from Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and Health Minister Chen Shih-chung, the government said it would continue to seek participation. "As a professional international health body, the World Health Organization should serve the health and welfare of all humanity and not capitulate to the political interests of a certain member," Chen said on Monday, referring to China. Wu expressed regret at the "WHO Secretariat's continued indifference to the health rights of Taiwan's 23.5 million people".