Taiwan claims China limiting WHO access, Beijing says it's cooperating, Latest World News - The New Paper

Taiwan claims China limiting WHO access, Beijing says it's cooperating

This article is more than 12 months old

TAIPEI Taiwan dramatically escalated its war of words with Beijing yesterday over the island's exclusion from the World Health Organisation (WHO), saying China was preventing Taiwan from getting timely information about the coronavirus outbreak.

Taiwan is not a WHO member because of China's objections. Beijing considers Taiwan part of China.

China told the WHO on Monday that it had shared full information about the coronavirus with Taiwan, and that outbreak communication had been "smooth" between the two sides.

But speaking in Taipei, Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokesman Joanne Ou said Taiwan has received very limited information and has been unable to get it quickly.

"Although the virus is really serious, they are still using the 'one China' principle to impede Taiwan from taking part in the WHO's technical meetings," she said.

Taiwan has reported 10 cases of the virus, compared with more than 20,000 in China, where the outbreak began in the city of Wuhan late last year.

"Internationally, the Chinese government rudely and unreasonably has been pressuring Taiwan and putting political considerations above human health. Disease has no national boundaries," Ms Ou said.

China has repeatedly denied seeking to complicate Taiwan's efforts, and says it has no problems with giving Taiwan access to virus information.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office said yesterday that Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party should stop using the virus to play political games.

The WHO also said Taiwan has been getting the information it needs.

The island yesterday said it would deny entry to all foreign nationals who had been to China during the past 14 days starting Friday, extending an existing ban on visitors from China that does not include travellers and residents from Hong Kong and Macau.

China late on Monday allowed the first batch of an estimated 500 Taiwanese stranded in Wuhan, which has been locked down by the government, to return home. - REUTERS