Proposal submitted by countries that aim to 'seriously disrupt' assembly
China is firmly opposed to the proposal submitted to the World Health Organization of "inviting Taiwan to participate as an observer" at this year's World Health Assembly, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
The issue of Taiwan's participation in the assembly must be handled according to the one-China principle, spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a daily news conference. The assembly is the WHO's top decision-making body.
According to the consensus reached by the WHO Executive Board, this year's assembly, to be held on Monday and Tuesday, will discuss only necessary issues such as COVID-19 and the election of board members, Zhao said.
"This shows that a majority of the WHO members hope to focus on international cooperation to tackle the pandemic at this assembly," he said.
The international community, including China, firmly objects to individual countries' insistence on discussing the proposal, which was submitted by countries including Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland) and Nicaragua, Zhao said.
They insist on doing so "only to seriously disrupt the process of the assembly and undermine international cooperation to fight the pandemic", the spokesman said.
China's central government has made proper arrangements for the Taiwan region to take part in global health issues, and made sure that the region can deal with public health emergencies in a timely and effective manner, Zhao said.
Taiwan attended the annual World Health Assembly as an observer from 2009 to 2016.
Zhao said no legal, legitimate basis is found in the WHO Constitution or the WHA Rules of Procedure for a region of a sovereign state to join the assembly as an observer. He said the island's attendance was a result of a special arrangement by China's central government.
The arrangement was made after consultations across the Taiwan Straits and based on both sides across the Straits adhering to the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle, Zhao said.
None of the WHO's member states disagreed with that arrangement, and the organization's then director-general invited the island to take part in the assembly as an observer, Zhao said, adding that such invitations did not constitute a precedent.
Since taking office, Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party has been sticking stubbornly to a "Taiwan independence" position, refusing to recognize that both sides across the Straits belong to one China, thus leading to the disappearance of the political basis for the island to take part in the World Health Assembly, he said.
"The basis was abandoned unilaterally by the Democratic Progressive Party, and the Taiwan region's failure to attend the assembly (as an observer) was caused by the Democratic Progressive Party's authorities," the spokesman said.
"There is only one China in the world. The Taiwan region is an inseparable part of China's territory," Zhao said.
The one-China principle is a common aspiration in the international community, and the WHO should stick strictly to the principle when dealing with Taiwan-related issues, he said.