China’s influence on the World Health Organisation (WHO) barred Taiwan from sharing best practices for containing the novel coronavirus which could have saved many lives, said a US government report. The United States has been pushing for Taiwan’s participation in the UN health agency and global health arena.
In a report published on May 12, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said that Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO during the pandemic has real implications both for the international community and for the self-governing island. The Commission added that Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO contributed to critical delays in receiving timely and accurate guidance in the early days of the virus outbreak.
“The lives lost as a result of these missteps offer a tragic reminder of how global health is compromised by the WHO’s politically-motivated exclusion of Taiwan,” said the report.
The US Commission underlined that Taiwan appears to have successfully contained COVID-19 by instituting early and aggressive measures based on its experience of battling the SARS outbreak in 2003. It accused WHO officials of consistently ignoring Taiwan’s attempts to exchange information on coronavirus and share best practices for containing it.
Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO imperils the health of the island’s 23 million people and limits WHO members’ access to crucial public health information, jeopardizing global health.— US-China Commission (@USCC_GOV) May 12, 2020
On May 1, the US mission to the United Nations said in a statement that the UN was founded to serve as a venue for all voices, a forum that welcomes a diversity of views and perspectives and promotes human freedom. It added that barring Taiwan from setting foot on UN grounds is an affront not just to the proud Taiwanese people, but to UN principles.
Taiwan’s Minister of Health and Welfare Shih-Chung Chen also held a rare teleconference with US Health Secretary Alex Azar on April 27 to exchange COVID-19 prevention strategies and share their views regarding “global health security”. The ministry said that Chen expressed his appreciation for the cooperation between the US and Taiwan on efforts to combat the virus and for the strong support extended by Washington on Taiwan’s participation in the UN health agency.