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US, Australia, Germany, Burkina Faso back Taiwan at WHA

  • Chen Shih-chung and Tom Price

    Chen Shih-chung and Tom Price

    US Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price (left) meets with Taiwan's Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (right) in this photo
    taken Sunday. (Photo Courtesy Ministry of Health and Welfare) (CNA)
Representatives of the United States, Germany, Australia and Burkina Faso backed Taiwan at the World Health Assembly (WHA) that opened on Monday in Geneva. Taiwan is unable to attend this year’s WHA due to obstruction from China. The WHA is the decision making body of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Taking the floor at a general discussion session at the WHA, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price expressed regret that Taiwan was not invited to this year’s meeting.
"We must express the United States’ disappointment that contrary to the custom of the past eight years, an invitation was not extended to Taiwan to observe this year’s assembly. The United States remains committed that Taiwan should not be excluded from WHO," Price said.
The health minister of Burkina Faso, Smaila Ouedraogo, also expressed support for Taiwan. Ouedraogo thanked Taiwan for assistance in the African nation’s health facilities, personnel training and coping with diseases. He said he hopes the WHA could accept Taiwan as an observer and said the WHA should not leave anyone out.
The German health minister, Hermann Grohe, said Berlin supports meaningful participation in the WHA by all entities without exception. Without naming Taiwan, Grohe said he regrets the fact that not all observers that have attended the WHA in the past few years were invited to this year's meeting. He said he hopes this situation will be corrected in 2018. 
Australia's representative said the WHO and the WHA should be more inclusive. He said inviting Taiwan as an observer in recent years was an important sign that the WHO was interacting with Taiwan. He said that Australia supports the continuation of this interaction.