WUHAN VIRUS/Taiwan experts to take part online in WHO forum

Taipei, Feb. 10

Taiwan has sent a list of experts to participate online in a World Health Organization (WHO) forum on the global fight against the new coronavirus epidemic for the WHO's approval, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Monday.

The Taiwanese will participate under the designation of experts from "Taipei" in the forum, which will be held Tuesday and Wednesday in Geneva to produce a global research agenda for the virus, according to the CDC.

The forum will focus on discussing technical research and the development of coronavirus vaccines and medications, the CDC said, and it still hopes to have Taiwanese experts take part in in person, though the WHO has giving no indication of that happening.

A list of the Taiwanese experts and their resumes has been submitted to the WHO for review as required, but the number of experts and other details cannot be revealed due to a non-disclosure agreement with the WHO, said CDC Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩).

The WHO will select the experts based on their resumes and their expertise in the research and development of coronavirus drugs and vaccines, the CDC said.

They will participate online in the forum, which will not be broadcast due to the non-disclosure agreement, according to Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), deputy director-general of the CDC.

In a Facebook post, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) commented on the exclusion of Taiwan, which is not a United Nations member, from the WHO and WHO meetings, saying, "we will continue to seek substantial participation."

She expressed the hope that Taiwan would not be excluded from the forum due to political reasons, saying that its participation will allow it to contribute medical expertise to the world.

Tsai thanked Taiwan's diplomatic allies and other countries such as the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Belgium as well as the European Union for speaking up for Taiwan at a WHO Executive Board meeting late last month.

Since 2017, China has persuaded the WHO not to invite Taiwan to attend the World Health Assembly, the WHO's top decision-making body, in line with Beijing's hardline stance on cross-Taiwan Strait relations after Tsai of the Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016.

Taiwan is the only country with confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus to be excluded from the WHO Emergency Committee discussions held recently in Geneva.

(Source of News: CNA)

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