Taiwan strongly protested and condemned the accusations of instigating racist attacks against the World Health Organisation (WHO) chief over Taipei feud with the UN body. President Tsai Ing-wen said in a statement that Taiwan has always opposed all forms of discrimination since they know better than anyone else what it feels like to be discriminated against and isolated.
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the conflict over the sovereignty of Taiwan after reports of advocacy for its participation in the WHO emerged. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ rejection of “racist slurs”, which he said had originated from Taiwan, provoked a stern response from Taipei.
Ing-wen invited the WHO chief to visit Taiwan and “experience the commitment” of Taiwanese people in engaging with and contributing to the world, “even in the face of discrimination and isolation”. She added that Taiwan is dedicated to the values of freedom, democracy, diversity, and tolerance and do not condone the use of racist remarks to attack those with different opinions.
“If Director-General Tedros could withstand pressure from China and come to Taiwan to see Taiwan’s efforts to fight COVID-19 for himself, he would be able to see that the Taiwanese people are the true victims of unfair treatment,” said Ing-wen.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry called the accusations levelled by the WHO chief as baseless and without merit. In a series of tweets, the ministry said that people around the world have witnessed the way WHO “mislabeled” and “outright ignored” inquiries about the country.
.@DrTedros said there's "No need to use #COVID19 to score political points. We agree! Yet without evidence, #Taiwan is accused of orchestrating personal attacks. This claim is baseless, without merit & further marginalizes the good work in which the @WHO is engaged worldwide. 1/3— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 🇹🇼 (@MOFA_Taiwan) April 9, 2020
The self-governing island republic considers itself as sovereign while China claims the province as Beijing’s territory under its one-China policy. 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.