Canada Backs U.S.-Led Effort for Taiwan at WHO Over Chinas Objections

OTTAWA—Canada has backed an American−led effort to allow Taiwan to be granted observer status at the World Health Organization because of its early success in containing COVID−19.

Beijing says Taiwan is a Chinese province and should be under its rule, while pressuring other countries to not recognize the self-ruled island and preventing its membership at WHO.

Taiwan is also squarely in the centre of the Trump administrations dispute with China and the WHO. The U.S. has temporarily halted funding to the organization over its allegedly inadequate assessment of COVID−19s early threat when the novel coronavirus was breaking out in the Chinese city of Wuhan. U.S. President Donald Trump has criticized WHO for being “too China-centric.”

An Australian newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, first mentioned Canada as a country involved in the pro−Taiwan coalition, and Foreign Affairs Minister Francois−Philippe Champagne confirmed that when asked.

“Canada continues to support Taiwans meaningful participation in international multilateral fora where its presence provides important contributions to the public good,” Champagne said in an email to The Canadian Press.

“We believe that Taiwans role as a non−state observer in the World Health Assembly meetings is in the interest of the international health community and is important to the global fight against the COVID−19 pandemic.

“Canada encourages the WHO to engage with experts from Taiwan and to support Taiwans meaningful inclusion in global discussions on health.”

Canada approved a verbal demarche to two senior WHO executives during a meeting Thursday that urged them to allow Taiwan to be admitted as an observer to an upcoming meeting because its input would be “meaningful and important.”

A senior government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the demarche was issued jointly on Thursday by the Geneva−based ambassadors of Canada, Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, Britain, Japan, and the U.S.—with the envoys from Washington and Tokyo taking the lead.

The World Health Assembly meets on May 18 in Geneva.

WHO

In Canada, a Geneva-based Canadian doctor has come under the spotlight amid the Taiwan−WHO issue: Dr. Bruce Aylward, the epidemiologist who led a team of WHO experts to China to study the COVID−19 outbreak in February.

Aylward has repeatedly turned down invitations to testify via video before the House of Commons health committee. Last month, the committee issued a summons for Aylward to testify—after he twice snubbed it—but it is only enforceable if he returns to Canada.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has raised concerns about the accuracy of the WHOs data on the pandemic, and Chinas influence on the international bodys decisions.

Conservative committee member Matt Jeneroux, an Edmonton MP, has said he wants to be able to question Aylward about the effusive praiseRead More – Source