The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the conflict over the sovereignty of Taiwan as reports of advocacy for its participation in the World Health Organisation emerged. The Chinese Embassy refuted the reports saying they were in serious violation with the “one-China” principle.
The self-governing island republic considers itself as sovereign while China claims the province as Beijing’s territory under its one-China policy. Counselor Ji Rong, spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in India asserted that the WHO is a specialised agency of the United Nations which is restricted to only sovereign states.
"According to the relevant resolutions of the UN and WHO, and the WHO Constitution, Taiwan has no right to join WHO as a part of China," the spokesperson said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has asserted, through his speeches, that China has the right to use force in order to bring Taiwan under its control but Beijing prefers “peaceful reunification”. In 2016, China severed ties with the Taiwan government after Tsai was elected as President.
The issue of Taiwan’s participation in international organisations like WHO has become more prominent especially after US President Donald Trump signed the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act into law on March 26. The TAIPEI Act, authored by US Senators Cory Gardner and Chris Coons, aimed at strengthening Taiwan’s standing around the world.
“The United States should use every tool to support Taiwan’s standing on the international stage...I look forward to finding additional ways to support the positive role Taiwan plays in international affairs,” said Senator Gardner in a statement.
Taiwan welcomed the legislation for supporting its “appropriate role” in the WHO when the world is facing a pandemic. WHO has been facing criticism for ignoring the question of Taiwan’s involvement and obfuscating real issues with “misleading” statements.
Wow, can’t even utter “Taiwan” in the WHO? You should set politics aside in dealing with a pandemic. FYI @WHO, 450+ news reports from 40+ countries so far positively covered #Taiwan’s handling of #COVID19. These reports do not mistake us as part of China & #TaiwanCanHelp. JW https://t.co/KbupbUb7NG— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 🇹🇼 (@MOFA_Taiwan) March 29, 2020
(With PTI inputs)