International Campaign Calls for Taiwan’s Participation in WHA
On April 27, an international group of lawmakers launched a campaign calling for Taiwan’s participation in next month’s World Health Assembly (WHA), warning that Taiwan’s continued exclusion creates “a dangerous gap” in the global health network.
The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) launched the initiative with a video on Twitter, featuring a total of 15 lawmakers from 12 legislatures across Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. The launch of the campaign comes as the WHA, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), prepares to hold its 74th annual meeting virtually, from May 24 to June 1.
In the IPAC video, the lawmakers praised Taiwan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, its donations of medical equipment, and its support for global health initiatives. Despite this, China has continued to “politicize” global health by blocking Taiwan’s participation in the WHA, creating a “dangerous gap” in global health, they said. “If Taiwan is left out, we all suffer. It’s time to let Taiwan help,” the video concludes, while urging people to show their support on social media using the hashtag #LetTaiwanHelp.
In a statement released by IPAC, U.S. Congressman Ami Bera, Chair of the House House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation, said: “Taiwan has long been a reliable partner on global health and has been a world leader in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Beijing’s attempts to isolate Taiwan from the international community are wrong and dangerous.”
Meanwhile, U.K. lawmaker Duncan-Smith said that the Chinese government’s actions to “politicize global health” were “unacceptable,” and called on “the U.K. and the free world” to do more to support Taiwan on the international stage. Moreover, French Senator André Gattolin said Taiwan’s participation in the WHA “should not even be questioned,” given its vital role in the international community and assistance to other countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The campaign received support from lawmakers and officials worldwide. The majority of the posts came from U.S. Congress members, who flooded social media with the hashtag #LetTaiwanHelp and called on the U.S. Congress to pass legislation supporting Taiwan’s participation in the WHA.
FAPA President Minze Chien stated: “We are grateful for the ongoing support to get observer status for Taiwan in the WHA. However, we at FAPA believe that Taiwan deserves full membership in all international organizations, including the WHO. The Constitution of WHO provides that ‘Membership in the Organization shall be open to all States.’ And the reality dictates that Taiwan is indeed an independent sovereign State, despite China’s claims and lies to the contrary.”
 Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202104280007
 Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2021/04/29/2003756525
 Taiwan News: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4189012
Taiwan Coast Guard Receives Its Largest Patrol Vessel
On April 29, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen presided over a ceremony in Keelung to inaugurate a 4,000-tonne-class coast guard ship, named the “Chiayi,” while highlighting Taiwan’s determination and ability to expand its defense capacity and Taiwan Coast Guard’s cooperation with the U.S.
The delivery of the coast guard’s “Chiayi” and the launch of the navy’s “Yushan” amphibious transport dock two weeks ago in Kaohsiung are proof that Taiwan’s indigenous shipbuilding projects and increased national defense autonomy are on track, President Tsai said at the ceremony.
The addition of the “Chiayi,” now the largest Coast Guard Administration (CGA) vessel, to Taiwan’s coast guard fleet will significantly boost its capability to carry out maritime patrols, crack down on illicit activities on the open seas, and conduct search and rescue missions, President Tsai said.
Last month, Taiwan and the U.S. signed a memorandum of understanding for the two countries’ coast guards to collaborate in preserving maritime resources; reducing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; and allowing for joint maritime search-and-rescue missions, as well as environmental response events, President Tsai added.
Designed as a mobile seaborne field hospital and having a landing pad for rotary-wing aircraft, the coast guard ship “Chiayi” is outfitted with a negative-pressure isolation ward, an operating room and other facilities that would enable it to perform humanitarian relief and search-and-rescue missions.
Moreover, the ship “Chiayi” could also be retrofitted for combat. Based on the design of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Legend-class National Security Cutter, the “Chiayi,” which is close to the size of a navy ship, follows the “blue-water navy” concept, meaning that it is capable of operating globally, Su Tzu-yun, a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said.
The “Chiayi” is among the first in the CGA fleet to be emblazoned with the word “Taiwan,” which will distinguish it from Chinese vessels and display to the world Taiwan’s resolution to protect its territorial waters. Currently, most CGA vessels only bear the words “ROC Coast Guard” on their hulls, but the new livery design to highlight the word “Taiwan” is being implemented this year.