Taiwan’s health minister Hsueh Jui-yuan insists that his country's ongoing exclusion from the World Health Organisation (WHO) seemed a “significant threat to global health”, AFP reported.
While addressing an event hosted by Geneva Press Club, shortly before WHO’s annual assembly began, Jui-yuan said: “Excluding Taiwan from WHO not only jeopardises the right to health of the 23.5 million people of Taiwan, it also seriously undermines WHO's efforts to achieve health for all.”
Recently, Taiwan, which was allowed to attend the top annual meetings of WHO from 2009 to 2016, has been continuously blocked by China from attending the World Health Assembly (WHA).
Jui-yuan also alerted that excluding it from the annual meetings will likely negatively affect sharing of information required to efficiently avoid or respond to the next pandemic threat.
"I am afraid that Taiwan will become the gap of the next pandemic," he said, warning that would "have a terrible impact for the entire world."
The US has already warned about the unpleasant consequences further exclusion of Taiwan may bring about.
In a tweet on Saturday, the US mission in Geneva said: “As we continue to confront emerging health threats around the world Taiwan's isolation from WHA76... undermines inclusive global public health cooperation led by WHO.”
Meanwhile, China continues to strictly oppose any efforts to include Taiwan as a WHA observer. "Any attempt to play the 'Taiwan card' to contain China will lead nowhere," the Chinese foreign ministry said recently.
Ever since President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in Taipei, China has increased efforts to pressure Taipei as it still refuses to accept Taiwan as a self-ruled democratic country.
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