One-China Principle must not be challenged
By Chen Xu  ·  2023-05-29  ·   Source: NO.22 JUNE 1, 2023

On May 22, the 76th World Health Assembly (WHA) once again refused to include a proposal on "Taiwan's participation at the WHA as an observer" in its agenda. For the seventh year in a row, the WHA has rejected Taiwan-related proposals, demonstrating the shared international commitment to the one-China principle affirmed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1, an overriding trend that cannot be challenged. The political manipulation of Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities is doomed to fail.

Over the past seven years, the DPP authorities and certain countries have made attempts to seek Taiwan's "presence" at the WHA. In particular, since the outbreak of COVID-19, the DPP and some countries have repeatedly sensationalized Taiwan-related issues at the World Health Organization (WHO), in disregard of the urgent expectation of the international community for unity in the fight against the pandemic, and brought political interference to the WHO. Such a preference for self-interest over international justice is doomed to be unpopular.

The DPP's claim that excluding Taiwan from the WHA will lead to a so-called gap in international pandemic prevention and control is completely false. The Chinese Central Government has always attached great importance to the health and wellbeing of Taiwan compatriots, and has made proper arrangements for the region of Taiwan to participate in global health affairs on the premise of the one-China principle. Taiwan's medical experts were among the first group of experts to arrive in Wuhan, Hubei Province, to gain insights about the COVID-19 virus and pandemic control measures, and the Central Government has updated the Taiwan region over 500 times about the pandemic situation since the start of COVID-19.

Since taking office as the permanent representative of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland, I personally have maintained close coordination with the WHO Secretariat, and arranged for medical experts from Taiwan to take part in over 100 technical activities held by the WHO on the premise of the one-China principle.

In disregard of the goodwill of the Chinese Central Government, the DPP authorities have stubbornly sought political self-interest, which has aroused strong dissatisfaction from the international community. By the time the assembly commenced, nearly 140 countries explicitly supported China's position and nearly 100 countries had sent letters to the WHO or issued statements to express their commitment to the one-China principle and opposition to Taiwan's participation in the WHA, stressing that there is no political foundation for Taiwan to participate in the WHA, and Taiwan-related issues should not interfere with the WHA agenda. These voices of justice are not only a warning against the DPP, but also a commitment to international rule of law and justice.

There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. The Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. The DPP authorities and certain countries have advocated Taiwan-related proposals, attempting to create "two Chinas," "one China, one Taiwan" in United Nations agencies such as the WHO. These actions in violation of international law are a serious breach of political commitments made by those countries and treat the basic principles of international law with contempt.

The Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Proclamation and other international legal documents have clearly stated China's sovereignty over Taiwan. Both UNGA Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1 affirm the one-China principle. China will never accept attempts by the "Taiwan independence" separatists and certain countries to undermine international rules, subvert the postwar international order and impinge on China's sovereignty. The decision made by the 76th WHA has once again demonstrated that the vast majority of countries stand with China on major issues concerning whether the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries can be safeguarded, whether the UN resolutions and WHO rules can be observed, and whether the postwar international order can be maintained. They firmly oppose any attempt to distort, deny or challenge the fundamentals of the existing international system and rules.

The author is the permanent representative of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland 

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson 

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