Taiwan will not participate this week in the World Health Assembly in Geneva, despite requests from several countries that faced pressure from China.
Beijing considers the island to be part of its territory and Taiwan was deprived in 2016 of observer country status.
Taiwan has the support of the United States, which has highlighted its response to the covid pandemic, as opposed to China’s management.
Before the meeting, the head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, defended that health threats require “close international collaboration” and that inviting Taiwan “would illustrate the commitment” of the World Health Organization (WHO) with an “inclusive approach”.
At the start of the 75th World Health Assembly, 13 countries including Belize, Haiti, Eswatini and Tuvalu proposed to include in the agenda that Taiwan have a permanent observer seat.
An Assembly committee debated the issue behind closed doors on Sunday and decided not to include it on the agenda, which was eventually adopted by members.
China’s ambassador, Chen Xu, denounced the proposal as “political manipulation.”
Taiwan was excluded from the WHO in 1972, but was allowed to participate in the Assembly as an observer between 2009 and 2016 during a detente in relations with Beijing.