Why in news?

As tensions between the U.S. and China rise over the novel coronavirus pandemic, India is faced with a major choice on whether to support a U.S. move to reinstate Taiwan’s observer status at the World Health Assembly (WHA) or to China’s opposition to it.

India is set to take over as the next Chairperson of the World Health Organisation’s decision-making executive body (World Health Assembly – WHA) in May, as India’s nominee will take over as the Chairperson, replacing Japan.

India’s Taiwan Dilemma

  • The U.S. has, in the recent past, accused WHO of acting as a “PR agency” for China during the pandemic.
  • A seven-nation virtual meeting of Foreign Ministers was convened by U.S. which appeared to be part of Washington’s efforts to gain support for its move to effect changes at the WHO.
  • U.S. Senate passed an act to regain observer status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization.
  • India is likely to hold the post for the next three years. The timing of the appointment is crucial, given the worldwide debate on the role of the WHO during the pandemic, and criticism of the current WHO Director.

China’s Position on Taiwan

  • China has also stepped up warnings on any attempt to include or support Taiwan’s role at the WHA.
  • Chine referred to the “One-China” principle as “a widely accepted universal consensus of the international community including the Indian government.”
  • China asserts that there is only “One China” and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of it.
  • China put forward a formula, known as “one country, two systems”, under which both Beijing and Taipei agree that Taiwan belongs to China, while the two still disagree on which entity is China’s legitimate governing body.
  • China also stated its right to use “non-peaceful means” against Taiwan if it tried to secede from China.

India’s Position on Taiwan

  • The MEA declined to comment on whether Taiwan was discussed during the meeting, or whether India has decided on supporting the US on its move to include Taiwan as a WHA participant.
  • India recognises only the People’s Republic of China (in mainland China) and not the Republic of China’s claims of being the legitimate government of Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau – a conflict that emerged after the Chinese Civil War (1945–49).
  • The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan and Japan have formally adopted the One China policy, under which the People’s Republic of China is theoretically the sole legitimate government of China.

Taiwan

  • Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a state in East Asia.
  • The island of Taiwan has the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the north-west, Japan to the north-east, and the Philippines to the south.
  • Taipei is the capital of Taiwan.
Map of the Island of Taiwan and Neighboring Countries

-Source: The Hindu

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