China slams US move to help Taiwan regain WHO observer status

Beijing, May 17 (EFE).- China has condemned the United States for signing a bill to help Taiwan regain its observer status in the World Health Organization (WHO).

“The bill gravely violates the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, severely contravenes international law and basic norms governing international relations, and grossly interferes in China’s domestic affairs. China rejects and deplores that the US should insist on signing it into law,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a daily news briefing late Monday.

Zhao urged the US to “comply with international law and basic norms governing international relations, prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related issues” and warned that failure to do so will “cause further damage to China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

Last week, US president Joe Biden signed a bill to direct the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to regain observer status for Taiwan in the WHO.

Beijing claims that Taiwan’s participation in the activities of the WHO must adhere to the “one China” principle in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of WHO.

Taiwan’s issues with the WHO date back to 1972, when it was unable to participate in the organization as it was not a member of the UN.

However, Taiwan has been making efforts to participate in the WHO since 1997.

These efforts ensured that, between 2009 and 2016, amid a diplomatic truce with China, Taiwan was invited to the World Health Assembly as an observer, a condition revoked by the Asian giant in 2017.

In 2021, Taiwan expressed “deep regret and strong dissatisfaction” at its exclusion from the 74th World Health Assembly, which was held virtually that year due to Covid-19.

Taiwan has been governed autonomously since 1949.

The island was the refuge of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) forces after losing the civil war with the Communists, who, since then, have claimed sovereignty over the territory.

In 1979, Washington broke its official diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing. However, the American Institute in Taiwan operates as a de facto embassy in Taipei. EFE


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