Tuesday, April 23, 2024

WHA rejects Taiwan-related proposal again, a legitimate move wins public support

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Zhong Sheng

The General Committee and the Plenary Session of the 76th World Health Assembly (WHA) on May 22 respectively decided to reject the so-called proposal of "inviting Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer" submitted by certain countries.

For the seventh year in a row, the WHA has rejected the Taiwan-related proposal, which fully indicates that the one-China principle has international support and represents the prevailing trend that cannot be challenged.

China's position on the Taiwan region's participation in the activities of international organizations, including the WHO, is consistent and clear. It must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle. This is a fundamental principle affirmed in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1.

For eight consecutive years from 2009 to 2016, the Taiwan region participated in the WHA as an observer in the name of "Chinese Taipei." This is a special arrangement made through cross-Strait consultation on the basis of adherence by both sides of the Taiwan Strait to the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle.

After coming into power in 2016, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has placed political calculations before the Taiwan people's welfare and remained headstrong on "Taiwan independence," refusing to admit the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle. As a result, the political foundation for the Taiwan region to participate in the WHA no longer exists.

To uphold the one-China principle and the sanctity and authority of relevant UNGA and WHA resolutions, China has decided not to agree to let the Taiwan region participate in this year's WHA. This is a just and necessary action.

This decision has received broad-based understanding and support from the international community. Recently, nearly 140 countries made clear to China their position of adhering to the one-China principle and opposing Taiwan's participation in the WHA. Nearly 100 countries wrote to the WHO Director-General or issued public statements on the issue, reiterating that Taiwan's participation in the WHA lacks political foundations and that Taiwan-related issues shouldn't disturb the assembly.

These voices of justice fully prove that the overwhelming majority of countries uphold the just and right position on the Taiwan region's participation in the WHA, and once again indicate that the one-China principle cannot be distorted, denied or challenged. Any attempt to play the "Taiwan card" to contain China will not succeed.

The real intention of certain countries to invite Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer is to politicize health issues and interfere in China's internal affairs in the name of the Taiwan question.

Before the WHA kicked off this year, the United States Department of State said in a so-called statement that it strongly advocated for Taiwan's participation in the WHA, and pressured the WHO not to obstruct it. The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee even adopted a so-called act that claims the representation of China doesn't include the Taiwan region.

In defiance of international law and the basic norms governing international relations, the United States exploits Taiwan-related issues to engage in political manipulation in an attempt to contain China.

It was under the instigation and consent of the United States that a few other countries submitted the proposal to the WHO, attempting to discuss the Taiwan region's participation as a supplementary item on the WHO agenda.

The WHO soon rejected the ridiculous proposal, which marked another heavy blow to the hegemonic, domineering and bullying practice of the United States.

The DPP authorities hyped up an alleged "international epidemic prevention gap" if Taiwan can't join the WHA, which is totally groundless.

The Chinese central government has always attached great importance to the health and well-being of the Taiwan compatriots. It has updated the Taiwan region over 500 times about the pandemic situation since the start of COVID-19.

According to the arrangement agreed on between China and WHO, Taiwan's medical and health experts can participate in WHO technical meetings given that the one-China principle is upheld. Over the past year alone, medical and technical experts from China's Taiwan region took part in WHO technical activities 24 times, which involved 26 participants.

There is an International Health Regulations Contact Point in the Taiwan region for it to promptly access and report information related to health emergencies. Taiwan has timely access to WHO information on global public health emergencies and reports to WHO in a timely manner the information of public health emergencies in Taiwan.

The DPP authorities are hyping up Taiwan's WHA participation not because this is necessary for epidemic response, but because they see it as a potential way to expand international space for "Taiwan independence."

There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. This is an indisputable fact supported by history and the law.

The DPP authorities, engaging in political manipulation for its own interests and seeking "Taiwan independence" under the pretext of COVID-19, are going toward a dead end. A handful of countries have encouraged and emboldened this move overtly or covertly, which goes against the trend of history and is doomed to fail.

(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People's Daily to express its views on foreign policy and international affairs.)

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