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China accused of blocking Taiwan from attending most WHO meetings
Taipei, May 11 (CNA) China has prevented Taiwan from attending most technical meetings of the World Health Organization (WHO), said Chiu Chui-cheng, deputy head of the Mainland Affairs Council and its spokesman, on Thursday.
Chiu made the comment as the annual conference of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, prepares to meet in Geneva from May 22-31. Taiwan has not received an invitation this year, due to China's obstruction.
On Wednesday, a Chinese government official contended that Taiwan's epidemic prevention information exchange channels with the WHO are good, that Taiwan can attend technical WHO meetings and WHO experts can visit the island if needed.
The health of people in Taiwan and its exclusion from the meeting are two different matters, An Fengshan, spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, told a regular news briefing.
In response, Chiu accused the Chinese official of dishonesty and claimed China in fact wants to downgrade Taiwan's sovereign status.
Due to China's obstruction, Taiwan has not received invitations to more than 50 percent of the technical WHO meetings it has applied to attend, according to Chiu.
Even WHO experts who are invited to attend meetings in Taiwan have to obtain approval from China before coming, Chiu said, adding that in such a situation, Taiwan generally does not have access to real-time epidemic information.
All of this proves that China does not care about the health and wellbeing of Taiwanese people, he added.
Chiu said the MAC has twice sent a statement to China indicating Taiwan's willingness to settle differences through dialogue but on both occasions no response was forthcoming from Beijing.
Taipei will work until the last minute to secure an invitation to the WHA and will view this as an indicator of cross-strait relations, according to Chiu.
Meanwhile, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung said on Thursday that Taiwan's participation at the WHA is of course related to the health of people in Taiwan because the government requires direct communication with the WHO to obtain real-time information about epidemics and the appearance of new infectious diseases.
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