World U.S. Calls for Taiwan to Join WHO Meeting, China Warns Against 'Separatist Activities'

02:10  08 may  2021
02:10  08 may  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

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The United States has called for Taiwan to be included as an observer in the World Health Organization's upcoming meeting, but China has warned the self-ruling island against any actions intended to divide it from the mainland.

a blurry close up of a brick wall: An island that lies inside Taiwan's territory is seen on February 4 off the coast of Lieyu, an outlying island of Kinmen that is the closest point between Taiwan and mainland China, located less than three miles away from the deep-water port of Xiamen. © An Rong Xu/Getty Images An island that lies inside Taiwan's territory is seen on February 4 off the coast of Lieyu, an outlying island of Kinmen that is the closest point between Taiwan and mainland China, located less than three miles away from the deep-water port of Xiamen.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement Friday, arguing that "there is no reasonable justification for Taiwan's continued exclusion" from the World Health Assembly (WHA), an annual international gathering of just about every nation in the world set to take place on May 24. While Taiwan is viewed by the United Nations as part of China, the U.S. feels it deserves it own seat at the table, especially given its early, effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was first observed in China's Hubei province.

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  US spy chief: China would find change in US policy toward Taiwan 'deeply destabilizing' Beijing would find it "deeply destabilizing" if the United States were to explicitly state it would come to Taiwan's defense in the event of a Chinese invasion, the nation's top spy said Thursday."From our perspective, if we were to see a U.S. shift from strategic ambiguity, as you've identified it, to clarity over a willingness to intervene in a Taiwan contingency, the Chinese would find this deeply destabilizing," Director of National"From our perspective, if we were to see a U.S.

Taiwan previously participated in the forum as an observer under the name "Chinese Taipei" from 2008 through 2016, but the invite was revoked amid a rise in cross-strait tensions following the election of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) President Tsai Ing-wen.

"Global health and global health security challenges do not respect borders nor recognize political disputes," Blinken said. "Taiwan offers valuable contributions and lessons learned from its approach to these issues, and WHO leadership and all responsible nations should recognize that excluding the interests of 24 million people at the WHA serves only to imperil, not advance, our shared global health objectives."

Chinese man dodges two navies to cross Taiwan Strait by rubber dinghy in search of 'freedom and democracy'

  Chinese man dodges two navies to cross Taiwan Strait by rubber dinghy in search of 'freedom and democracy' A Chinese man crossed the highly-militarized Taiwan Strait in a small rubber dinghy Saturday in search of "freedom and democracy," Taiwanese police said.According to police captain Shih Chun-hsu, the man, surnamed Zhou, was spotted late Friday evening near the port of Taichung after crossing the roughly 80 kilometer (50 mile) stretch of water from Fujian province, on China's east coast.

And though Washington severed official ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing about half a century ago, the U.S. continues to provide political and military assistance to the island.

"Taiwan is a reliable partner, a vibrant democracy, and a force for good in the world, and its exclusion from the WHA would be detrimental to our collective international efforts to get the pandemic under control and prevent future health crises," Blinken added. "We urge Taiwan's immediate invitation to the World Health Assembly."

The ongoing, informal yet expanding relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan has fueled anger in China, where President Xi Jinping has pledged to reintegrate Taiwan either through diplomacy or force. A sharp increase in People's Liberation Army activity through airspace claimed by Taiwan has caused concern on the island that its rival may be gearing up for an invasion.

Man who 'crossed Taiwan Strait in dinghy' quizzed

  Man who 'crossed Taiwan Strait in dinghy' quizzed A Chinese man apparently crossed the highly militarised waterway in a small rubber dinghy.The Chinese man, 33, told police he crossed the 100-mile (160km) stretch in search of "freedom and democracy".

These concerns were voiced by Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, referred to in Mandarin as Wu Zhaoxie, in an interview Wednesday with the Australian Financial Review.

On Friday, China's Taiwan Affairs Office reacted strongly, with spokesperson Zhu Fenglian "telling the DPP authorities, Wu Zhaoxie and others not to misjudge the situation."

"'Taiwan independence' is a dead end," Zhu was quoted as saying by her office. "We have the determination and ability to thwart all 'Taiwan independence' separatist activities, resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely safeguard the common interests of compatriots on both sides of the strait."

She said that the cause of an independent Taiwan and those who support it were doomed.

"We will never leave any room for various forms of 'Taiwan independence' separatist activities," Zhu added. "All 'Taiwan independence' elements who sell their national interests and split China will eventually be tried and liquidated by history."

Taiwan has been an influential factor in the deterioration of relations between the U.S. and China that began under former President Donald Trump, who broke early on by accepting Tsai's congratulatory phone call shortly after his election. His successor, President Joe Biden, has also pledged to shore up support for Taiwan and even invited the island's de facto envoy to the U.S. to his inauguration in January.

Will Biden provide strategic clarity or further ambiguity on Taiwan?

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The Biden administration has also vowed, however, to maintain a "One-China policy" that governs both its official relationship with Beijing and its unofficial ties to Taipei. China has refused to engage in diplomacy with any country that establishes formal ties with Taiwan, and today only 14 countries and the Holy See have relations with the island.

When it comes to issues of international concern, however, Taiwan officials have argued the world would benefit from having them join the conversation.

"The pandemic has reminded the world that disease knows no borders, and that all countries need to work together to prepare for the next public health event," the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office said in a statement sent to Newsweek. "It has also exposed the absurdity of excluding Taiwan from the global health body, especially given how the information it provided at the early stage could have had an impact on containing the virus."

The office touted Taiwan's success in combating the coronavirus disease and issued five demands for the WHO. These included allowing Taiwan to join the WHO-led public health network, providing the contact information for Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control in the International Health Regulations intranet, establishing a relationship between the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office and Taiwan, listing Taiwan's disease cases separately from those of China and allowing Taiwan to participate in technical meetings.

Confidence in a stronger Taiwan-U.S. relationship

  Confidence in a stronger Taiwan-U.S. relationship The Taiwan-U.S. relationship is “rock-solid” and indicative of the shared values and common interests we hold. It also reflects on the strong foundation of bipartisan support from Congress and across the American public. We echo Dodd's comments by saying that Taiwan is also a reliable and trusted friend of the U.S. We are confident that this relationship will continue to thrive in the years to come.Bi-khim Hsiao is Representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.

"The WHO must fully accept Taiwan's participation," the office said.

The cause has won bipartisan support from lawmakers of the U.S. Congress as well. A proposed bill entitled the Strategic Competition Act would compel the Biden administration to further support efforts for Taiwan's participation in international organizations such as the World Health Organization, as well as to investigate alleged Chinese influence they see as expanding within these institutions.

The prospect of Taiwan being admitted to the World Health Assembly was also backed in a joint statement published by the Group of Seven, or G7, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy Japan, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

"To strengthen global cooperation on issues of concern to all we believe it is vital to ensure inclusive processes in international organisations," the communique read. "We support Taiwan's meaningful participation in World Health Organisation forums and the World Health Assembly. The international community should be able to benefit from the experience of all partners, including Taiwan's successful contribution to the tackling of the COVID-19 pandemic."

The group also noted that member states "remain seriously concerned about the situation in and around the East and South China Seas."

"We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues," the statement read. "We reiterate our strong opposition to any unilateral actions that could escalate tensions and undermine regional stability and the international rules-based order and express serious concerns about reports of militarisation, coercion, and intimidation in the region."

Taiwan fights to attend WHO meeting, but China says no

  Taiwan fights to attend WHO meeting, but China says no Taiwan fights to attend WHO meeting, but China says noThe rich-nation Group of Seven (G7) has called for Chinese-claimed but democratically-ruled Taiwan to attend the WHO's decision-making body, the World Health Assembly, which meets from May 24.

The U.S. has stepped up its own military movements and activities in the skies and seas surrounding Taiwan as China flexed its muscles.

With tensions high in the region, a senior State Department official also discussed the matter of Taiwan participating in the WHO and WHA ahead of the statement's release.

"It's not just that Taiwan should have a right to be there, because you don't have to be a state to be a participant in it, but that they have a lot to bring to the table, particularly on COVID," the official told reporters on Wednesday. "They have a lot of experience in this that can help all of us, and it just seems really self-defeating to exclude them."

In Beijing, however, the idea has been outright rejected.

"The participation of China's Taiwan region in activities of international organizations, including the WHO, which consists of sovereign nations, must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said during a daily press briefing Thursday.

This, he said, "is an important principle" established by U.N. General Assembly Resolution 2758, which facilitated China's replacement of Tawain at the U.N. in 1971, and WHA Resolution 25.1, which reiterated this transition the following year.

"The G7, as a grouping of developed nations, should take more concrete actions to boost world economic recovery and help accelerate developing countries' growth, rather than stoking confrontation and difference and disrupting global economic recovery," Wang said.

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Taiwan Blasts China's 'Shameless Lies' After Beijing Claims Nobody Cares More About Taiwanese .
"After what Beijing has done to Xinjiang, Tibet & Hong Kong, no sane person would believe it could take care of Taiwan's health needs or otherwise," Taiwan's foreign minister tweeted on Tuesday.Last week, the United States and Group of Seven (G7) nations called for Taiwan's "meaningful participation" in the WHO and World Health Assembly (WHA), which will meet on May 24.

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