China opposes US request to invite Taiwan to WHO annual meeting

China spoke out this Thursday against Taiwan participating in the annual meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO), after the United States requested the day before that the island be invited in light of its “experience” in the fight covid.

“We firmly oppose the statement issued by the United States,” Zhao Lijian, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Thursday.

“There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of it,” he added.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that the United States strongly advocates for Taiwan to participate in the meeting that starts this weekend.

“Inviting Taiwan … would illustrate the WHO’s commitment to an inclusive approach … Viruses do not respect borders,” Blinken said.

Under pressure from Beijing, which considers the island to be part of its territory, Taiwan was excluded from the WHO, where it participated as an observer until 2016.

The United States, like most countries, does not officially recognize Taiwan, but it strongly supports the island and stresses its “democratic” status in the face of what it calls a Chinese “autocracy.”

US Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden have called for Taiwan’s participation in the WHO as an “observer” to no avail.

The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry on Thursday expressed regret and dissatisfaction that it has not yet received an invitation to attend the meeting.

He thanked the United States for “leading and collaborating with other like-minded countries to help expand Taiwan’s international engagement.”

The WHO World Assembly will be held from May 22 to 28 in Geneva.

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