Photo from instagram.com/riinasikkut
Geneva, May 23 (CNA) Estonia for the first time on Tuesday called for Taiwan's inclusion in the World Health Organization (WHO) during the third day of the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva.
In her address during the 76th WHA, the WHO's annual decision-making forum, Estonian Minister of Health Riina Sikkut said her country believed one should "facilitate inclusion and meaningful participation of all partners, including Taiwan, and this would benefit global health."
Estonia was one of 10 countries to speak in support of Taiwan's inclusion during the WHA's Tuesday session.
Aside from Estonia, government representatives from three other countries that do not have diplomatic relations with the Republic of China, the official name of Taiwan, namely, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Germany, and those from six diplomatic allies of the ROC, namely, Paraguay, St. Vincent and the Grenades, Haiti, St. Lucia, Nauru, and the Marshall Islands, referenced support for Taiwan in their addresses to the WHA Tuesday.
Marshall Islands Minister of Health Joe Bejang in his address made a personal plea to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Taiwan's inclusion.
"Director General, I expressed my country's gratitude for your strong leadership and further commend your reiteration of the WHO's vision that 'health is neither for some, nor for most, but it is for all.'"
Quoting remarks made by Tedros at a March 5 press conference, Bejang said "if we all go back to how things were before COVID-19, we will have failed to learn our lessons, and we will have failed future generations."
"We should stop the politics, stop the neglect, for we are all human beings, ad we should be focusing on achieving the highest possible standard of health for all people -- let Taiwan help," Bejang added.
Their words of support were issued a day after WHA rejected a proposal from Taiwan's diplomatic allies, including Belize, Nauru, Eswatini and the Marshall Islands, to put Taiwan's observer status on the WHA's agenda on Sunday.
That proposal, however, was ultimately rejected by the WHA following objections from the People's Republic of China (PRC), which views Taiwan as part of its territory.
During Tuesday's session, two countries namely, Nicaragua and Chad used their respective addresses to express support for the PRC's "One-China" principle.
The ROC left the WHO in 1972 following a decision by the United Nations to recognize the PRC as the only "legitimate representative of China."
Since then, Taiwan has been unable to attend the WHA even as an observer, except from 2009 to 2016, when cross-Taiwan Strait relations were warmer under Taiwan's then-Kuomintang government.
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