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No invitation, but Taiwan still hoping to attend WHA: official
Publish Date: 2017/05/09
Update Date: 2017/05/09
Taipei, May 8 (CNA) Taiwan will not give up on its bid to attend the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) even though it appears it will not receive an invitation to the conference by the Monday deadline for online registration, a health official said.

Although the deadline will soon arrive, it does not mean Taiwan has missed the opportunity to attend the WHA, said Hsu Ming-hui, an official with the Ministry of Health and Welfare's Office of International Cooperation.

The registration deadline is Monday midnight in Geneva, where the meeting will be held, or Tuesday at 6 a.m. Taiwan time.

Hsu and other government officials seemed resigned to the idea that an invitation would not be forthcoming, but Hsu stressed that the World Health Organization (WHO) has not publicly stated it will not invite Taiwan to the WHA, the WHO's decision-making body.

The official did not offer any scenarios in which Taiwan might have the chance to participate in the conference, however, holding out hope instead for bilateral meetings with participants outside of the meeting's venue.

The Health Ministry said in a separate statement that it will continue its efforts to secure a WHA invitation but also lamented not receiving an invitation, saying that Taiwan would be the most capable of any of the entities with WHA observer status to contribute to global health.

The WHA's annual meeting is scheduled to kick off on May 22 but Taiwan has yet to receive an invitation from the WHO Secretariat even though the United States and Canada have expressed support for Taiwan's participation in the annual meeting as an observer.

Taiwan has attended as an observer under the name Chinese Taipei since 2009 under an agreement between the government of then-President Ma Ying-jeou, the government in Beijing and the WHO.

After Tsai Ing-wen, the chairwoman of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, was elected president in January 2016, there was some question whether Taiwan would get an invitation, but it arrived shortly before the online registration deadline and before Tsai took office on May 20.

The invitation sparked controversy, however, because it mentioned U.N. Resolution 2758, WHA Resolution 25.1 and the "one China" principle underlying the two documents.

With cross-Taiwan Strait relations grinding to a standstill in the year since, many observers were not surprised that Taiwan has not received an invitation because of Beijing's influence in the WHO and United Nations.

China claims independent Taiwan as part of its territory and has ramped up its longstanding campaign of suppression of Taiwan in the international community since Tsai took office. (Photo courtesy of CNA)
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