China on Thursday rejected an invitation from the World Health Organization (WHO) to invite Taiwan to its annual meeting after the United States pressured it to join the Democratic Republic.
Taiwan has been barred from joining the rally in recent years by China, which sees the island as a rebel province seeking to reunite with the mainland.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the United States strongly supports inviting Taiwan as an observer to the World Health Organization’s annual World Health Assembly and criticizes its omission as “unreasonable.”
Beijing has reacted angrily to the comments.
“We strongly oppose the relevant statement made by the United States,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Thursday.
“There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an integral part,” he told a regular briefing.
Zhao added that Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, including the WHO, must be conducted in accordance with the “one-China policy”.
Taiwan was expelled from the WHO in 1972, a year after the United Nations lost its “China” seat to the People’s Republic of China.
When relations with China were warm between 2009 and 2016, it was allowed to attend the WHO summit as an observer.
But since Beijing President Xi Jinping came to power, he has stepped up his campaign to pressure Taipei, as he has refused to acknowledge his position as part of the self-governing democratic Taiwan China.
Zhao added on Thursday that any attempt to “play the card of Taiwan” or use the island against China would “fail”.
Blinken said in an earlier statement: “As we continue to fight COVID-19 and other emerging health threats, Taiwan’s isolation from the World Health Forum undermines unreasonable and inclusive global public health cooperation.”
Taiwan’s foreign ministry on Thursday expressed regret and regret that it had not yet received an invitation to attend the WHO meeting in Geneva.
“Our side thanks the United States for its leadership and cooperation with other like-minded countries to help expand Taiwan’s international participation,” the ministry said.
The World Health Assembly is scheduled for May 22-28.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)