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U.S. calls for constructive dialogue, flexibility across Taiwan Strait
Washington, May 8 (CNA) The United States on Monday reiterated its support for Taiwan to expand its contributions to the world community and urged Taipei and Beijing to engage in dialogue as Taiwan looked set to be excluded from the World Health Assembly gathering later this month due to China's obstruction.
"The United States remains committed to supporting Taiwan as it seeks to expand its already significant contributions to addressing global challenges," said Grace Choi, spokesperson of the State Department's Bureau for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
"We encourage authorities in Beijing and Taipei to engage in constructive dialogue, on the basis of dignity and respect," she said in response to CNA questions. "We continue to urge patience, flexibility, and creativity on both sides."
"We support Taiwan's membership in international organizations that do not require statehood," Choi said in line with a longstanding U.S. position on Taiwan's bid to participate in international affairs. "In organizations that require statehood for membership, the United States supports Taiwan's meaningful participation."
Choi made the comments after Zhang Zhijun, the top Chinese official responsible for Taiwan affairs, said explicitly that the basis for Taiwan's continued participation in the WHA was gone since Taiwan has refused to comply with Beijing's demand for Taipei to accept the so-called 1992 consensus.
Her comments also came at a time when the deadline was expiring for the registration of the WHA meeting, which will open May 22 in Geneva. As of Monday morning in Taipei, Taiwan still had not received an invitation that would allow it to complete the registration.
The WHA is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, in which members are countries enjoying a seat in the U.N.
China considers self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory and has obstructed Taiwan's bid to take part in world organizations. From 2009 to 2016, when Taiwan was under the leadership of President Ma Ying-jeou, the WHA issued an invitation each year for Taiwan to attend its meeting as an observer.
Ma and his Kuomintang party recognize the 1992 consensus, under which China and Taiwan agree there is only one China, with both sides free to interpret what that means.
The government of President Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party would only go so far as to say that it would maintain the status quo in relations across the Taiwan Strait.
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