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WHO Should Not Allow Politics Between Taiwan, China To Hamper Public Health

Nature: Clock is ticking for WHO decision over Taiwan
Editorial Board

“…For almost a decade, Taiwan — despite not being a member of the United Nations — has been permitted to attend WHO events as an observer. But, so far, its invitation for this year’s event in Geneva has not arrived. That’s because of the rising political tensions between Taiwan and the Chinese government in Beijing. … It is not surprising that global health has become ensnared in world politics in this way, but it’s still disappointing — particularly given that it deflates the mood of cooperation that had allowed Taiwan to participate since 2009. … The WHO recognizes the U.N.’s 1971 decision that Taiwan is part of the People’s Republic of China, led by Beijing. Nature also recognizes that decision. … As China seems to have recognized in years past, in public health terms Taiwan’s presence at WHO meetings is good for everyone. If politics disrupts that, then people on both sides of the divide and the strait must hope that faith in the informal global infectious disease control network is not misplaced. And when (not if) a new health emergency comes, China must ensure that Taiwanese health officials and researchers are not kept out of the loop” (5/19).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.