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US presses WHO to invite Taiwan to annual assembly

The United States urged the World Health Organization on Wednesday to invite Taiwan to its annual assembly next week despite China’s opposition, saying the Covid-19 pandemic requires universal cooperation.

The WHO’s annual World Health Assembly meeting, scheduled for May 22-28, “is an opportunity to drive cooperation towards ending the acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic and advancing global health and global health security,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“We strongly advocate for the WHO to invite Taiwan to participate as an observer and lend its expertise to the solution-seeking discussions,” Blinken said in a statement.

Taiwan was blocked from attending the World Health Assembly as an observer in 2016 by China, which considers the island a renegade province.

The block came after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who refused to acknowledge the island is part of “one China.”

“As we continue to fight Covid-19 and other emerging health threats, Taiwan’s isolation from the preeminent global health forum is unwarranted and undermines inclusive global public health cooperation,” Blinken said.

“We will continue to support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations where statehood is not a requirement,” he added.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French state-owned international news agency based in Paris. It is the world's oldest news agency, having been founded in 1835 as Havas.

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