Taiwan holds out hope for seat at World Health Assembly meeting


Taiwan and its supporters have been campaigning hard to see it return as an observer at the World Health Assembly, the governing body of the World Health Organization, which is due to meet from May 24.

Taiwan’s successful handling of COVID-19 for more than a year and a half has brought renewed attention to Taiwan’s absence from the WHA, which it has not attended since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen.

US legislators have regularly called for Taiwan to return as an observer in years past, but this time the G7 has thrown its support behind Taiwan while a coordinated social media campaign this year under the hashtag of #LetTaiwanHelp has expanded to include legislators from Europe, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

At the end of April, 16 members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) released a campaign video urging the WHA to invite Taiwan, coinciding with a surge in tweets from US Congressional legislators and the US State Department.

“In the past, efforts out of Congress centred on sending letters to the WHO or the Executive Branch or to capitals abroad to ask for support for Taiwan’s inclusion. This year, however, there was a much more public and thus, more far-reaching, approach,” said Jessica Drun, a non-resident fellow at the US-based Project 2049 Institute.

“This brought in parliamentarians from across the world – and across party lines. It was likewise able to grow organically on the social media platform, generating statements from other leaders as well as public figures and activists,” she said.


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