On Monday, the World Health Organization’s leading attorney stated that WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has “no mandate” to invite Taiwan to participate in its World Health Assembly (WHA) next week. WHO principal legal officer Steven Solomon said member states have to make the decision, and their opinions were “divergent.”
The Hill reported that Solomon stated at a briefing with reporters, “To put it crisply, director-generals only extend invitations when it’s clear that member states support doing so, that director-generals have a mandate, a basis to do so. Today however, the situation is not the same. Instead of clear support there are divergent views among member states and no basis there for — no mandate for the DG to extend an invitation.”
Solomon acknowledged a proposal had been made “to the assembly itself to make a decision on an invitation … That is procedurally how it is supposed to work under the Constitution. All 194 Member States can consider the issue collectively, in accordance with the rules of procedure. Success depends on political will and political engagement, which underscores the point that this is a political issue that is properly in the hands of Member States,” Health Policy Watch reported.
Yahoo News reported, “China berated New Zealand on Monday for its support for Taiwan’s participation at the WHO, saying the country should ‘stop making wrong statements’ on the issue to avoid damaging bilateral ties.”
On May 6, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Taiwan should be allowed to participate at the WHA, adding that Ghebreyesus had the power to invite them. He asserted, “I also call upon WHO Director-General Tedros to invite Taiwan to observe this month’s WHA, as he has the power to do, and as his predecessors have done on multiple occasions.”
“On the same day, a proposal for a vote on the issue by member states at the upcoming Assembly was submitted to WHO by the Central American country of Belize. A swelling list of other sponsors have now formally added their names to the call, including the central American countries of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Paraguay; the Caribbean islands of Haiti, St. Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis; Eswatini in southern Africa; and the Pacific small island states of The Marshall Islands, Palau, Republic of Nauru, and Tuvalu,” Health Policy Watch noted.
The Hill noted, “Taiwan has earlier participated in WHA meetings as an observer state under the name ‘Chinese Taipei’ between 2009 and 2016, and that came about with increased relations between Beijing and Taipei. Yet Taiwan was refused an invitation in 2017 and has since not participated in the annual meeting.”
As The Daily Wire reported on March 21:
Health officials in Taiwan say they warned the World Health Organization in December 2019 that the coronavirus could be passed via human-to-human contact, but the organization ignored its warnings, possibly due to its relationship with China, where the virus originated.
The Financial Times reported Friday that Taiwan made the claim, insisting the WHO didn’t communicate the possible ease of transmission early enough. Taiwan, the Times noted, “is excluded from the WHO because China, which claims it as part of its territory, demands that third countries and international bodies to not treat it in any way that resembles how independent states are treated.”
The Taiwanese health officials said doctors in the country learned that medical staff on mainland China were getting ill, suggesting human-to-human contact was possible. Officials in Taipei said they reported the information at the end of December 2019. Taiwanese government officials who spoke to the Times said their warnings were not shared by the WHO.
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