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People wear face masks to protect against the coronavirus on a street in Taipei, Taiwan People wear face masks to protect against the coronavirus on a street in Taipei, Taiwan, March 30, 2020 (AP photo by Chiang Ying-ying).

Taiwan Successfully Navigated COVID-19. But What About U.S.-China Tensions?

Friday, May 15, 2020

When members of the World Health Organization convene via video conference next week for the 73rd annual World Health Assembly, they will largely focus on the unprecedented challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. But despite earning plaudits for its success in containing its COVID-19 outbreak, Taiwan will not be dialing in.

China has long pressured other states to exclude Taiwan from the WHO, along with other United Nations bodies, because it considers Taiwan to be a rebellious province of China rather than a sovereign nation. Beijing did allow Taiwan to attend the World Health Assembly as an observer during a thaw in relations under former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, who favored warmer ties with the mainland. But Ma was replaced in 2016 by Tsai Ing-wen, who takes a firmer stance toward Beijing. After Tsai’s election, China subsequently moved to strip Taiwan of its observer status at the WHO. ...

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