Will WHO accept Taiwan as a member?

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Taiwan attended the World Health Assembly as an observer from 2009 to 2016, when Taipei-Beijing relations were warmer.

But China blocked further participation after the election of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, whom China views as a separatist, a charge she rejects.

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WELLINGTON: New Zealand on Friday (May 8) weighed in on the debate around whether Taiwan should be allowed to join the World Health Organization (WHO) saying the country has a lot to offer given its success in limiting the spread of COVID-19.

“Taiwan has something to offer at the WHO right at the moment,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said at a news conference when asked if New Zealand would support Taiwan’s inclusion in WHO as an observer.

Robertson was addressing a daily media briefing on the country’s fight against the coronavirus.

Taiwan’s exclusion from the UN body, due to objections from China which claims the island as one of its provinces, has infuriated the Taiwanese government which has reported fewer cases of coronavirus than many neighbours due to early detection and prevention work.

Robertson said Taiwan has employed a number of successful methods of dealing with the virus and have a number of epidemiologists and public health experts who have provided a great deal of advice that many countries have benefited from.

“They have been an observer at the WHO in the past and I think in this time of the post-COVID-19 crisis, there is room for them to be there again,” he said.

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