US bill won’t help Taiwan attend WHA

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/13 0:13:40

Provocation may force China to adopt non-peaceful measures

A citizen runs in front of the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan, on Oct. 1, 2019. (Xinhua/Chen Bin)

 The reason why China firmly prohibits separatist Taiwan authority from participating in the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer is due to the fact such authority has abandoned the one-China principle, and no matter how the US politicians and their allies exploit the issue to encourage Taiwan separatism, the only consequence that may ensue is the mainland considering ending this senseless game by solving the Taiwan question once and for all via non-peaceful means. 

The US Senate on Monday passed a bill that requests Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to design a strategy to "help Taiwan regain observer status" at the WHA, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), to be held on May 17. 

Chinese analysts said that in fact, since 2017 when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took  power ruling the island, Western politicians, especially US lawmakers and officials, who received funding from the DPP played such games every year ahead of annual WHAs, and they failed every time, and there will be no difference this year, even as the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming a new excuse for them to exaggerate the issue further. 

The bill was drafted by Republican Senator Jim Inhofe and Democrat Senator Bob Menendez who co-chairs the Senate's Taiwan Caucus. 

The Senate's Taiwan Caucus with 24 senators focuses exclusively on improving connections between the US and the island. It's counterpart in the House is the bipartisan Congressional Taiwan Caucus, which is the second largest Congressional Member Organization in the House with 139 members. Li Xiaobing, a Taiwan studies expert at Nankai University in Tianjin, told the Global Times on Tuesday that "US congressional members of the caucus have been using the legislature of their country to support Taiwan separatism for a very long time since the Taiwan separatist authorities donate huge amount of money for this service every year. Now these politicians are aiming at a dangerous strategic goal to challenge the one-China policy."

Such US politicians have never cared about public health affairs or international cooperation on fighting the pandemic at all, and according to the statement they made, everyone with common sense can see how ignorant they are, while just using their legislative power in the US to earn Taiwan's money easily, Li said.

When announcing on his website the passage of the bill, Inhofe wrote that "Taiwan has been a strong partner in public health, donating countless medical supplies around the world, including to the United States, and has been a leader in treatment, research and information sharing." He also stigmatized the Chinese mainland with some groundless accusations.

Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday that "It seems this senator is living in a world different than the rest of us. We are not belittling the island's efforts to deal with the outbreak, but it's a well-known fact across the world that the Chinese mainland has not only sent professional teams to help other countries, but also acting as the logistical center for the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic." 

The game that the US has played to help Taiwan regain WHA observer status has nothing to do with information sharing or other public health issues, but only aims to serve the US political and strategic purpose of containing China, said experts.

Taiwan's normal technical cooperation and communication on the epidemic prevention with the WHO and the mainland has never been impacted even it cannot attend the WHA as an observer. Since 2019, 16 groups of Taiwan public health experts had participated in WHO activities on technical issue under the one-China principle, said Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.

The earliest warning message regarding Wuhan's outbreak that Taiwan received in January is from the mainland's public health authorities, and the shameless separatist authorities even claimed it was Taiwan who spotted the outbreak, however in truth they just transmitted the message from the mainland directly to the WHO, said Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the State Council of the Taiwan Affairs Office on April 17.

"The masks and ventilators that the US received from the mainland were of a much higher standard than they could get from Taiwan. How dare these ignorant and senseless US politicians speak such nonsense which is obviously against the facts?" Li noted.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on April 23 via her Twitter account that "As of April 20, China had provided the US with over 2.46 billion masks, equaling 7 masks for every person in the US," and "nearly 5,000 ventilators" and many other medical materials.US senior officials are very reluctant to appreciate China's efforts, while they flattered Taiwan, even as the island announced previously they could only provide 10 million masks to other nations, and the US could get 2 million of these, according to Taiwan media reports. 

China's efforts to help other countries have won praises from the WHO and many members among the international community, including many Western countries like Italy and Spain, so it doesn't worry about the tricks that the Taiwan separatist authority and the US would play at all. 

Because the international community is very clear about who is really contributing to the global fight against the pandemic and who is politicizing the pandemic to serve its own strategic goals, said the Chinese mainland experts.

Photo taken on Jan. 30, 2020 shows the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland.(Xinhua/Chen Junxia)

Not a big deal

The DPP authority's image in the mainland is horrible. This is not only because of its separatist stance, but also due to its hostile and non-humanitarian policies against mainlanders. For instance, the island banned mask exports to the mainland from January, when the outbreak was at its worst, but it donated masks to the US, even though one person on the island is only allowed to buy nine masks in two weeks.

The international community and the WHO understand the issue regarding Taiwan has no relevance to public health affairs, especially about handling the pandemic. The US and its allies, not WHO members, would like to see international cooperation be interrupted any political issue, analysts said. The US can't even get full support from the G7 to criticize the WHO.

"The firm attitude that the mainland holds against DPP authorities is based on anger among the public on the mainland, and there is no room for any kind of Taiwan separatism in the international multilateral sphere. The DPP should better understand, if it wants Taiwan to return to the WHA as an observer, it should talk to Beijing instead of Washington. The one-China principle is the only key," Li said.

Although China has enough influence and international support to safeguard its sovereignty in the WHO, the US and its allies could possibly take advantage of certain tricks to break the rules of the organization and unilaterally put Taiwan's representatives into the assembly, mainland analysts noted.

"That could paralyze the WHA and even force other members to deal with debates that have nothing to do with the pandemic. The rattling of the one-China principle would bring diplomatic and political struggles between major powers, and this would seriously interrupt public health affairs, which should be the theme of the assembly, and this is a dangerous precedent and highly irresponsible move by the US," Li said.

China won't be affected too much by the tricks that the US and its allies try to play, and the only possible consequence for the island and the US is that the people of the mainland lose their faith in peaceful reunification, and more people would urge mainland decision-makers to solve the Taiwan question via non-peaceful means, so the mainland could stop the US from using the island as card to contain China once and for all, mainland experts noted.

Lü said that the US has no capability to protect Taiwan once the separatists cross the red line, since the mainland now has the overwhelming advantage to solve this long-standing problem, therefore "the more tricks they play to challenge our principle, the nearer we get to reunification."

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