Beginning on May 24, the world will gather virtually for the 74th annual World Health Assembly (WHA). The Assembly is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, and it sets the agenda for strengthening international cooperation to end the COVID-19 pandemic and advancing global health and global health security — issues that affect us all. And yet, unless the Organization’s leadership takes appropriate action, the Assembly will once again exclude the vital participation of Taiwan.
There is no reasonable justification for Taiwan’s continued exclusion from this forum, and the United States calls upon the WHO Director-General to invite Taiwan to participate as an observer at the WHA – as it has in previous years, prior to objections registered by the government of the People’s Republic of China.
Global health and global health security challenges do not respect borders nor recognize political disputes. Taiwan offers valuable contributions and lessons learned from its approach to these issues, and WHO leadership and all responsible nations should recognize that excluding the interests of 24 million people at the WHA serves only to imperil, not advance, our shared global health objectives.
Taiwan is a reliable partner, a vibrant democracy, and a force for good in the world, and its exclusion from the WHA would be detrimental to our collective international efforts to get the pandemic under control and prevent future health crises. We urge Taiwan’s immediate invitation to the World Health Assembly.