Taiwan delegation to depart for WHO meeting in spite lack of invite

“So far we’ve still received no invitation from WHO. It ignores the health rights of 23 million Taiwanese people … We will express our regret and discontent,” Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in Taipei.

In spite of the lack of an invite the delegation hopes to boost the island nation’s international visibility and exchange experiences with other countries on disease prevention and health promotion during the World Health Assembly, which runs from Monday till May 28.

Officials have said Taiwan will also still seek inclusion at the conference once in Geneva.

Taiwan Health Minister, Chen Shih-chung said on Friday that Taiwan’s exclusion from WHO could create a gap in global health security networks.

“Having access to the newest WHO epidemiological data is important when we manage epidemics,” Chen said.

It is the third year in a row that the self-ruled democracy, which Beijing considers part of its territory, has not been invited.

Between 2008 and 2016, when China-friendly former president Ma Ying-jeou was in power, Taiwan attended as an observer.

But since President Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party was inaugurated in May 2016, it has been left out.