Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper), Fresh impetus has been injected into the ongoing efforts by Taiwan to become more involved in international organizations.

The Taiwanese community in Belgium held a demo in Brussels on Wednesday as part of its long-running campaign to join the World Health Organisation.

China sees self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually be under Beijing’s control and China’s President Xi Jinping wants “reunification” with Taiwan. He has not ruled out the possible use of force to achieve this.

Taiwan has few diplomatic ties and says that pressure from China means it remains excluded from joining major bodies like the WHO.

The protest outside the European Parliament was called “Health for All, Taiwan Can Help” and was held to support Taiwan’s entry into WHA. 

It featured Taiwanese Ambassador Remus Li-Kuo Chen and members of staff from the Taiwan Representative Office and their families.

It was organized by Shan-Lin Lai, a member of the Overseas Community Affairs Council, jointly with other members of the Taiwanese community in Belgium and Taiwan’s overseas students.

Others present were Federico Bartolozzi, Minister of the Republic of Paraguay to the EU; Georges Dallemagne, a member of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives and Co-President of the Belgium-Taiwan Friendship Group and German MEP Michael Gahler, Chair of the European Parliament’s Taiwan Friendship Group.

Other MEPs attending were Mikuláš Peksa, Charlie Weimers, Ivan Štefanec, Reinhard Bütikofer, and Petras Auštrevičius.

All voiced their support to the public for Taiwan’s international participation.

Ambassador Chen thanked the Taiwanese community in Belgium for supporting the government’s pursuit of international participation with practical actions, and said that “although the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 is no more a threat to global public health, there are still gaps in international public health.”

He said, “Taiwan has not yet been invited to participate in the World Health Assembly (WHA) and that the current global health coverage is far from universal, he noted, before adding that the rights and interests of all Taiwanese should not be subject to outside political interference.

Echoing Ambassador Chen’s calls, the MEPs and representatives from our diplomatic allies in attendance also praised Taiwan’s contributions to international public health and urged all democratic countries to join hands with Taiwan and work together to ensure Taiwan’s international participation to help achieve global health and well-being. 

A statement reads, “Whether Taiwan can participate in the WHO is not only related to the interests of a single country but also the interests of the entire international community.”

More than 100 Taiwanese and Europeans from all walks of life attended the event to “show their support”, enthusiastically holding up banners and slogans to express the “sincere” appeal of 23.5 million Taiwanese people. 

The statement added, “We thank all of the politicians, ambassadors, Taiwanese communities, and overseas students for coming out and expressing their full support for Taiwan’s participation in the WHO.”

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