Michael Olugbode in Abuja
China has explained its role in blocking Taiwan from attending the recently held World Health Assembly (WHA).
A statement issued by the spokesman of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, Zhang Hang, said China could have unilaterally block Taiwan from attending the United Nations organised function, insisting that the decision was taken by over 80 countries.
The spokesperson said the decision was taken by allies of China across the world, who believe in a united China, which include Taiwan.
Zhang, in the statement said: “I was caught by surprise to read in a local newspaper an article entitled: ‘Taiwan’s exclusion from the World Health Assembly undermines global health’, by the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, indicating that China wrongfully blocked Taiwan from participating at the WHA.”
He said Nigerians and everyone else across the globe should be interested in what actually happened.
According to him, “On May 24, 2021, the General Committee and the Plenary session of the 74th WHA respectively decided to reject the so-called proposal of ‘inviting Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer’, which was submitted by certain countries. Can China succeed in doing this alone? No, actually, among 194 members of World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 150 countries, including Nigeria, voiced their support for China, and more than 80 countries sent letters to WHO to express their commitment to the one-China principle and opposition to Taiwan’s participation in the WHA. “Were all these countries wrong? Absolutely not.”
Zhang added: “WHO is an international organization, which only sovereign country can join. Taiwan is not a sovereign country; it is an inalienable part of China. The Resolution 2758 of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in October 1971 and the Resolution 25.1 of WHA in May 1972 had already provided the legal basis for the WHO to abide by the one-China principle, and recognised Taiwan as part of China.
“One-China principle is an international consensus and adhered by 180 countries including the US.
Taiwan region’s participation in the WHA must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle and through cross-strait consultations. The incumbent authorities in the Taiwan region since 2016 obstinately adhered to the separatist position of ‘Taiwan independence’ and refused to recognise that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one and the same China. As a result, the political foundation for the Taiwan region to participate in WHA has ceased to exist.”
He, however, said as COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage globally, it is high time for responsible international community members to show solidarity, instead of politicising health issues and interfering with other countries’ internal affairs.