After China began blocking Taiwan’s World Health Assembly (WHA) participation in 2017, the island started a diplomatic campaign to join the annual meeting as an observer.
Earlier this month, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement encouraging the WHO to invite Taiwan as an observer, drawing criticism from China.
On Thursday the de facto embassies in Taiwan for the US, Australia, the UK, Canada, Germany, Japan, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic issued a joint statement reaffirming support for Taiwan’s participation in the WHA as an observer.
“Taiwan’s isolation from the WHA, the pre-eminent global health forum, is unjustified and undermines inclusive global public health cooperation and security,” the statement said.
Taiwan, which is allowed to attend some technical WHO meetings, says its exclusion from the WHO hindered efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
China has in recent years ramped up diplomatic and military pressure against Taiwan to force the island to accept Chinese sovereignty. Taiwan’s government rejects China’s claims and says only the island’s 23 million people can decide their future.