Taipei, May 15 (CNA) The government is pushing for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA) with the help of the country's diplomatic allies, after failing to obtain an invitation to the annual event this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Monday.
At the request of Taiwan, the diplomatic allies have written separately to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan (陳馮富珍) proposing that the issue of "inviting Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer" be included in the agenda of the meeting, slated for May 22-31 in Geneva, the MOFA said.
The ministry expressed its appreciation to the allies, which it did not name, for their assistance and urged the WHO and its members to recognize the fact that Taiwan is an indispensable part of the global disease surveillance system and to respect the Taiwanese people's right to health.
Taiwan first attended the WHA as an observer in 2009, a year after the government of former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) came to power and pursued a more conciliatory policy toward Beijing.
Taiwan had taken part in every WHA meeting since then, until this year.
The exclusion is widely seen as the latest move by China to clamp down on Taiwan's international participation, a strategy that has become more aggressive since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is also chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party, which is less conciliatory toward China, took power in May 2016.