Taiwan health not at risk by absence from United Nations meeting: China

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Taiwan's information exchange channels with the United Nations health body are smooth, Taiwan can attend technical WHO meetings and if needed its experts can visit the island, An said.

Self-ruled Taiwan wants to attend the May 22-31 annual meeting of the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, but has accused Beijing of obstructing its efforts to secure an invitation.

While Taiwan has received some worldwide support, Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said most countries back China's stance.

China claims Taiwan which broke away from the mainland in 1949 as a part of the mainland.

Taiwan, as Chinese Taipei, had been participating in the WHA as an observer since 2009.

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With China in the ascendant, Taiwan has shed global allies in recent decades, with only 21 countries now recognising the island's sovereignty.

Ties between mainland China and Taiwan have worsened since the election a year ago of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party who - unlike the island's previous mainland-friendly administration - has not acknowledged the "one China" principle.

An said this special arrangement was made through cross-Strait consultations against the backdrop of peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and on the political foundation that both sides of the Taiwan Strait adhere to the 1992 Consensus.

WHO representatives in China referred questions to the organization's Geneva headquarters, which did not immediately respond.

Last week in Perth, Australia, Taiwanese delegates were forced to leave a Kimberley Process conference on controlling conflict diamonds after objection from the Chinese government delegation.

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"In particular, the United States has welcomed Taiwan's participation as an observer at the past eight World Health Assembly meetings", Moriarty added. Taiwan says health should not be politicised and that leaving Taiwan out of dialogue puts the world's health safety-net and health of people on the island at risk.

"The DPP has damaged the joint political basis of cross- strait relations, so the precondition for Taiwan to attend no longer exists", China's Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement yesterday.

Asked whether China had asked Switzerland to block the entry of the Taiwan delegation, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a news briefing: "No matter what the DPP authorities in Taiwan do, they are doomed to fail".

While the president's moves promoting Taiwan's WHA participation, including a splurge of Twitter posts and an interview with a foreign news agency, were commendable, her administration did not act promptly, Michael Tsai said.

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