The World Health Organization (WHO) has once again decided not to acknowledge Taiwan’s existence after it received pressure from China.
This time, the WHO is not inviting Taiwan to an upcoming global health meeting that includes officials from all over the world to address the coronavirus pandemic, The Hill reported Monday. China does not recognize Taiwan’s independence.
“To put it crisply, director-generals only extend invitations when it’s clear that member states support doing so, that director-generals have a mandate, a basis to do so,” WHO principal legal officer Steven Solomon said. “Today however, the situation is not the same. Instead of clear support there are divergent views among member states and no basis therefor — no mandate for the DG to extend an invitation.”
The WHO has been at the center of criticism from President Donald Trump and others as it tries to help manage the pandemic. However, vocal critics of the WHO suggest the organization is kowtowing to China’s demands and has actively help spread its coronavirus-related propaganda.
Solomon said that there were “divergent views” among United Nations member states which prevent Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from being able to extend the invitation to Taiwan.
Despite this, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the WHO to invite Taiwan.
“I also call upon WHO Director-General Tedros to invite Taiwan to observe this month’s WHA, as he has the power to do, and as his predecessors have done on multiple occasions,” Pompeo said.
As the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic, China has been ratcheting up its pressure on Taiwan, including repeatedly flying around Taiwanese air space, Foreign Policy reported.
“The WHO willingly took China’s assurances to face value, and they took it just at face value and defended the actions of the Chinese government, even praising China for its so-called transparency,” Trump said in comments reported by Business Insider.
Trump has since cut funding to the WHO, which amounted to $418 million in 2018, and ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate if the WHO and China concealed information early on about the coronavirus, ABC News reported.
Experts are so far mixed about the WHO’s involvement in covering up the coronavirus, but the WHO’s has repeated talking points similar to those employed by the Chinese government throughout the pandemic. At one point the WHO even said that there was “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” of the coronavirus; a claim based on reporting from Chinese authorities.
Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China🇨🇳. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020
Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told Fox News that he was not sure how culpable the WHO really was.
“There needs to be an independent, external investigation into the WHO response to COVID-19 and China’s potential influence over its decisions,” he said. “What the WHO has done is to accept Chinese claims and statistics, no matter how outlandish. This should be clear, as the Chinese just ‘corrected’ their Wuhan fatality figure by 50 percent. The WHO never questioned the original statistics.”