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Re: Taiwan’s exclusion from WHA undermines global health

Since the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic, United States was among the few countries to seriously turn down international cooperation to contain the pandemic and…

The article written by the U.S ambassador to Nigeria, H.E Mary Berth Leonard with the title, “Taiwan’s Exclusion from WHA undermines Global Health” and published in some newspapers is curious, because the distinguished U.S ambassador certainly knows why “Taiwan remains excluded from international organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The passionate advocacy of the U.S envoy canvassed in the article with the spurious claim that “to prevent Taiwan’s participation in the WHA,” would “leave the world, the World Health Organisation, and Nigeria worse off”, does not ring true, especially in the light that over 150 countries, including Nigeria, explicitly support the one China Policy and the fact that the WHO is an international organisation of only sovereign countries and Taiwan is not a sovereign country.

Since the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic, United States was among the few countries to seriously turn down international cooperation to contain the pandemic and even walked out of the main international institution WHO, whose core mandate includes mobilising global solidarity in response to the pandemic. The U.S was among the first countries to fly out her citizens out of the former epicentre of the disease, Wuhan and slammed border closure against all others. This early poor, hysterical and politically motivated response to the pandemic made the U.S to pay an unnecessarily and obviously unavoidable high price for the rampaging pandemic.

Now playing the Taiwan card is an extension of the U.S politically motivated response to the pandemic but this more insidious and toxic variant, which aims at undermining the sovereign and territorial integrity of a key member of the international community is dangerous. Nigeria would certainly not fall for it and this is why.

Despite there is wide room for extending the frontiers of China -Nigeria bilateral cooperation, the relation between the two countries is currently at its historic best. Nigeria took the firm and responsible position to reaffirm its One-China Policy in 2017 when it expressly directed the Taiwan trade office in Abuja, to relocate its office to Nigeria’s commercial hub in Lagos, after it was discovered the trade office was engaging in surreptitious political activities that undermined Nigeria’s one China policy, which explicitly recognises that there is only one China.

Nigeria however, has a trade agreement with Taiwan just as several Nigerian states have subsisting trade agreements with other countries in the world but without an iota of pretense to diplomatic representation.

The 24 million residents of Taiwan are Chinese and if as a result of history leftovers, there are issues between the central government and the region the Taiwan Island that does not mean that both people across the straits are of different nationalities.

The article of the US ambassador to Nigeria seeks to lend support to the creation of two Chinas or one China, One Taiwan, which offends not only the Chinese people across the straits but also global consensus on the One China principle, which the United States affirmed in the joint Shanghai communique signed on the 27th of February 1972.

If the United States has decided against the trends of contemporary international system, which is essentially cooperation to engage China in a cold war as the body language of Washington indicates and the article of the U.S ambassador to Nigeria suggests, Nigeria should make it known that the country does not intend to become any such theatre .

To glamourise separatist activities anywhere in the world and even using  Nigeria’s hospitable disposition to advance it, is to demonstrate insensitivity to the country’s current challenges which include separatists’ agitations.

Nigeria and China pragmatic cooperation for its elaborate practical and tangible outcomes have become part of the crucial fabrics of the respective national life of the two countries and therefore, obviously not available for disruptions.

Charles Onunaiju wrote from Abuja, Nigeria