BFF-38 Pompeo says Taiwan exclusion ‘further damages’ WHO credibility

319

ZCZC

BFF-38

HEALTH-VIRUS-WHO-TAIWAN

Pompeo says Taiwan exclusion ‘further damages’ WHO credibility

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
on Monday condemned the exclusion of Taiwan from the World Health
Organization’s annual meeting, saying it proved US charges that the UN
body was beholden to China.

The WHO member states at the annual meeting delayed discussion on
whether to grant observer status to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a
province awaiting reunification and seeks to exclude from all
international organizations.

Pompeo said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who
has been harshly criticized by President Donald Trump’s
administration, “had every legal power and precedent” to include
Taiwan in the meeting.

“Yet he instead chose not to invite Taiwan under pressure from the
People’s Republic of China,” Pompeo said in a statement.

“The Director-General’s lack of independence deprives the Assembly
of Taiwan’s renowned scientific expertise on pandemic disease, and
further damages the WHO’s credibility and effectiveness at a time when
the world needs it the most.”

Taiwan has enjoyed remarkable success in combating the pandemic,
with only seven deaths and some 400 infections despite its proximity
and close commercial links with mainland China, where the disease was
first identified.

“The PRC’s spiteful action to silence Taiwan exposes the emptiness
of its claims to want transparency and international cooperation to
fight the pandemic, and makes the difference between China and Taiwan
ever more stark,” Pompeo said.

“Taiwan is a model world citizen, while the PRC continues to
withhold vital information about the virus and its origins,” he said.

Trump has accused the WHO of not sounding an alarm early enough and
of blindly taking China’s word after the virus was identified late
last year in Wuhan.

Critics say that Trump, who himself had earlier praised China’s
response, is trying to divert attention from his own handling of the
pandemic in the United States, which has suffered by far the highest
death toll.

BSS/AFP/MRU/2127hrs