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Foreign Minister Lin, Health and Welfare Minister Chiu hold joint press conference to express Taiwan’s staunch determination to participate in WHO and WHA

  • Date:2024-05-25
  • Data Source:Department of International Organizations

May 25, 2024  

No. 184  

With the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA) to commence on May 27, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lin Chia-lung and Minister of Health and Welfare Chiu Tai-yuan held a joint press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on May 24. During the event, they expressed Taiwan’s strong determination to continue to advance its bid to participate in the World Health Organization (WHO) and WHA and urged WHO and its member states to heed the voice of the 23.5 million Taiwanese people and involve Taiwan at the earliest possible juncture.


In his remarks, Minister Lin stated that the only reason Taiwan had not received an invitation from the WHO Secretariat to date this year was because of pressure from China. He said that despite this situation, MOFA and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) would continue their efforts. Noting that Taiwan had received increased international backing for its participation in the WHO and WHA, Minister Lin said that 11 of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, acting in their capacity as WHO member states, had sent letters to the WHO director-general requesting as a supplementary item that Taiwan being invited to participate in the WHA as an observer be included in this year’s WHA agenda.


Minister Lin pointed out that joint statements released by the G7 foreign ministers and the Australia-UK foreign and defense ministers reiterated support for Taiwan’s participation in WHO and the WHA. He also noted that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had made statements for four consecutive years supporting Taiwan’s participation in the WHA as an observer, and that the administrative and legislative branches of around 70 countries—including Japan, the United Kingdom, and France, as well as the European Union—had publicly backed Taiwan’s participation in WHO and the WHA through a diverse range of channels, including letters, interpellations, and social media posts or the sharing of posts. He expressed MOFA’s sincere gratitude for this.


Stressing that Taiwan was willing and able to contribute to the development of global health, Minister Lin added that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan had clearly demonstrated to the international community how its goodwill could be used to help others. He also pointed out that when war or natural disaster had struck in places such as Ukraine and Syria, Taiwan had immediately extended a helping hand and donated humanitarian aid and medical supplies, and that Taiwan was the first to license COVID-19 vaccine technologies developed by its companies to the WHO and United Nations (UN). Minister Lin also observed that Taiwan’s performance in numerous medical fields ranked at the top of global lists, and that Taiwan’s National Health Insurance system—with its coverage of 99.9 percent—had been hailed as one of the best systems in the world. He said that these accomplishments and good deeds showed Taiwan was a force for good and a reliable and responsible member of the international community.


Minister Lin emphasized that as Taiwan had sought more international participation, prominent figures such as UN Secretary-General António Guterres had expressed concern regarding peace, stability, and security across the Taiwan Strait. Stating that healthcare knows no borders and that peace is a universal value, Minister Lin said Taiwan hoped that more countries would uphold the spirit of WHO and take concrete action to support Taiwan’s participation in WHO and other mechanisms within the UN system, as well as other international organizations.


The press conference also included a screening of My Second Home, a short film promoting Taiwan’s WHA bid for this year. Noting that the film had received more than 20 million views globally since its release on May 6, Minister Lin said that “Taiwan can help” and “health for all” were not mere slogans but rather represented real-life stories close to all. He invited the 23.5 million people of Taiwan to watch the film and share it on social media so that even more people around the world could understand Taiwan’s appeal.


On the evening of May 24, a WHA action team left for Geneva, where it will hold a series of events promoting Taiwan’s WHA bid.


MOFA will continue to work with the MOHW to seek further progress and breakthroughs. MOFA urges WHO to resist China’s pressure and manipulation and involve Taiwan at the earliest possible juncture. Only in this way can WHO realize its founding mission of contributing to the health and welfare of everyone in the world. (E)