The World Health Assembly, the WHA, is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, the WHO. It is scheduled to hold its annual meeting May 21-30 in Geneva.
The stated mission of the WHO is “Health for All,” and, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement in advance of the event, the WHA’s annual meeting “is a unique opportunity for delegates and health experts from around the world to advance global health and global health security.”
Considering the meeting’s purpose, Secretary Blinken “strongly” encouraged the WHO “to invite Taiwan to participate as an observer at this year’s WHA meeting so it may lend its expertise to the discussions.”
Taiwan’s expertise in the field of global health is indisputable, as are its technological capabilities, its democratic governance, its resilience in the face of COVID-19, and its robust economy, resources which could all beneficially inform the WHA’s deliberations.
In addition, “Inviting Taiwan as an observer would exemplify the WHO’s commitment to an inclusive ‘health for all’ approach to international health cooperation,” said Secretary Blinken, noting that Taiwan has been invited to participate as an observer in previous WHA meetings.
In fact, the WHO broke years of precedent in 2015 at the 70th World Health Assembly when it failed to invite a Taiwanese delegation to attend as an observer – a failure that has been maintained every year since then.
“Taiwan’s isolation from the WHA, the preeminent global health forum, is unjustified and undermines the inclusive global public health cooperation and security, which the world demands,” said Secretary Blinken.
“Taiwan is a reliable partner, a vibrant democracy, and a force for good in the world,” he declared. “The United States will continue to advocate for Taiwan’s return as an observer at the WHA, and moreover, for its meaningful and robust participation in appropriate international fora.
“Our support for Taiwan’s participation in appropriate international fora,” noted Secretary Blinken, “is in line with our one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances.”