NewsDenmark mulls Taiwan's WHO return despite opposition from China

Denmark mulls Taiwan’s WHO return despite opposition from China

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Taipei (Taiwan): Denmark’s parliament is reportedly considering a resolution to support Taiwan’s bid to return to the World Health Organization (WHO), despite opposition from China, according to Danish media and Taiwan’s representative office.

In a Facebook post, Taiwan’s office in Denmark said that six of the ten political parties represented in the Danish parliament are supporting to ask the WHO to invite Taiwan to the World Health Assembly (WHA), the WHO’s decision-making body, as an observer, reported Taipei Times citing Central News Agency (CNA).

The resolution was jointly initiated by the Danish Blue-bloc coalition and Danish Social Liberal Party and has passed the first reading and is currently under review by the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the resolution has been supported by a majority of the country’s opposition parliamentarians following Taiwan’s successful containment of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taipei Times reported citing CNA.

However, due to its ‘one-China policy’, the Danish government has not offered its full backing for the issue, apparently concerned about going against China’s wishes in the matter.

The Danish newspaper quoted Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod as saying that his government supports observer status for Taiwan in the WHA but will continue to maintain a “one-China policy,” which sees Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Michael Danielsen, chairman of Taiwan Corner, a non-governmental organization in Denmark, said that media reports on the matter have been quite positive towards Taiwan, which could benefit its bid internationally.

Danielsen further said that Danish officials should consider more practical bilateral exchanges with Taiwan involving efforts to combat COVID-19 or on energy policy to boost two-way exchanges.

Since being expelled from the WHO in 1972 after the PRC took its seat, the Republic of China has not been able to participate in the WHA, except from 2009 to 2016, when it attended as an observer at a time when cross-strait relations were warmer under the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government, reported Taipei Times citing CNA.

Since 2017, however, China has pressured the WHO not to invite Taiwan, in line with Beijing’s hardline stance on cross-strait relations since President Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016.

Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades, reported CNN.

Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing. 

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