China says Taiwan not invited to U.N. health meeting

Kyodo News

Posted at May 07 2018 10:02 PM

China said Monday that Taiwan will not be allowed to attend the annual meeting later this month in Geneva of the decision-making body of the World Health Organization because of the pro-independence stance of the island's government, local media reported.

It marks the second straight year for the self-ruled island not to receive an invitation to attend the World Health Assembly due to strained cross-strait ties.

"The Democratic Progressive Party authorities have refused to recognize the '1992 consensus' on the one-China principle," An Fengshan, spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council, was quoted by the Central News Agency as saying at a press conference in Beijing.

"The political foundation for Taiwan's participation in the WHA does not exist," he added. "The responsibility lies with the DPP authorities."

The so-called "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit understanding that there is only one China, with each side free to interpret what "China" means. It was reached in 1992 by Taiwan's then-ruling Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party.

Beijing unilaterally suspended official contact between the two sides after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP took office in May 2016. It has made clear that her government's recognition of the "1992 consensus" is the key to further developing cross-strait ties.

An said Beijing's position on Taiwan's participation in international organizations or activities has been clear and consistent, which is that the issue must be handled in line with the "one-China principle" as reflected in the U.N. General Assembly Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1.

Under the former resolution, passed in 1971, Taiwan was removed from the United Nations and the Communist Party-led government in Beijing became the sole representative of China in the world body, while under the latter, Taiwan was expelled from the WHO in 1972.

"Institutionalized interactions between the two sides can continue only if both sides have the common political foundation of '1992 consensus," he said. "Only then can the two sides negotiate on the issue of Taiwan's participation in international organizations and related activities."

Taiwan attended WHA meetings as an observer under the name "Chinese Taipei" between 2009 and 2016 during the administration of former President Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly KMT.