Petition backing Taiwan’s WHA participation gets support in Japan

Taipei, May 12 (CNA) More than 5,000 people from the Taiwanese community in Japan and Japan’s own medical, political and business sectors have expressed support for Taiwan’s participation in the annual World Health Assembly (WHA).

Taiwanese communities in Kyushu and western Japan launched a signature campaign in March to support Taiwan’s efforts to break through China’s obstruction and participate in this year’s WHA, to be held in Geneva from May 20 to 28, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Though Taiwan failed as expected to get an invitation to the WHA this year for a third year in a row, leaders of Taiwanese and ethnic Chinese communities in Kyushu handed the petition to Taiwan Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) during a banquet Saturday night.

At the banquet, one of Chen’s stops during a four-day visit to Kyushu, the health minister said after receiving the petition that Taiwan can be a partner in advancing global health and should not be left out of the global health network.

Taiwan has been unable to attend the WHA as an observer since 2017, a year after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party took power, due to Beijing’s policy to squeeze Taiwan’s international space.

Meanwhile, nearly 300 members of Taiwanese and ethnic Chinese communities in Toronto held a walkathon Saturday (local time) in support of Taiwan’s return to the WHA and to thank Canada for its support for Taiwan.

Canada is one of the countries that openly voiced support for Taiwan’s failed effort to attend the WHA. Other countries that did so include the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and France.

John McKay, a Canadian member of parliament who joined the walkathon, told CNA that Taiwan should be given a place in health-related organizations under the United Nations, adding that it is unreasonable for a country with 23 million people to be kept out of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Lawmakers from the Czech Republic and Peru have expressed their support for Taiwan to participate in the upcoming annual World Health Assembly (WHA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Saturday.

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