Consulate General Spokesperson Refutes Irresponsible Remarks of the Taiwan Authorities Regarding the Prevention and Control of the Novel Coronavirus Epidemic
On February 4, 2020, Chinese Consulate General in Chicago sent a letter to the Chicago Tribune, refuting the remarks made by the head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago regarding the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus epidemic. The full text of the letter is as follows:
In his letter to the Chicago Tribune published on January 29, the head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago irresponsibly claimed that Taiwan’s absence from the World Health Organization (WHO) “creates a big loophole in the global war on epidemics” and harms the health and well-being of the Taiwan people. This is nothing but a lie that the Taiwan authorities has fabricated to politicize the health issue and seek political gains for “Taiwan independence”.
No one cares more about the health and well-being of our compatriots in Taiwan than the central government of China. Based on the arrangement made by China and the WHO, medical experts from the Taiwan region can attend relevant technical meetings of the WHO, and the WHO can send experts to Taiwan to inspect or assist when necessary. The Taiwan region has timely access to WHO’s information on global public health emergencies, and any emergency happening in the Taiwan region can be reported to the WHO in time. These arrangements ensure that the Taiwan region can handle public health emergencies in a timely and effective manner regardless of where they may take place.
Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, the Chinese government has handled it in a serious, responsible and transparent manner, winning high appraises from the WHO and the wider international community. China’s National Health Commission promptly and voluntarily notified the Taiwan region of the situation. At the request of relevant authorities in Taiwan, we arranged for experts from the Taiwan region to visit Wuhan on January 13-14 to see for themselves our work in epidemic prevention and control, medical treatment of patients and pathogen detection. They also had discussions with mainland experts who participated in related work and expressed heartfelt appreciation for their reception in the mainland. This fully demonstrates that the argument that “Taiwan’s absence from the WHO creates a loophole in international epidemic prevention” is groundless and untenable.
WHO is an international organization whose membership requires statehood. China’s position on the Taiwan region’s participation in WHO activities is consistent and clear. It must be arranged pursuant to the one-China principle. This is also an important principle affirmed by UNGA Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1. From 2009 to 2016, the Taiwan region participated in World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer under the name of “Chinese Taipei” for eight consecutive years. That was a special arrangement made through cross-Strait consultation on the basis of the 1992 consensus that embodies the one-China principle. The one-China principle represents the political foundation for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations as well as the political basis for the special arrangement for Taiwan’s participation in WHA. However, since taking power in 2016, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has put political calculations above the Taiwan people’s welfare and entrenched itself in the secessionist position of “Taiwan independence”, thus undermining the political foundation for the region’s participation in the WHA. For that the DPP authorities should blame no one but themselves.