Coronavirus: Taiwan blasts WHO for saying it's part of China in virus report

As a UN body, the World Health Organisation treats Taiwan as part of China. Other WHO reports have referred to the island as its capital "Taipei & environs". PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI (BLOOMBERG) - Taiwan's foreign minister criticised the World Health Organisation (WHO) for referring to the island as part of China amid a worsening coronavirus outbreak.

"@WHO, what's wrong with you? First you called us 'Taiwan, China,' then you changed to 'Taipei.' You misreported the confirmed cases, & now you call us 'Taipei & Environs.' Look! Taiwan is #Taiwan & not any part of the #PRC," foreign minister Joseph Wu wrote in a sharply worded tweet on Thursday (Feb 6).

As a United Nations body, the WHO treats the separately governed island as part of China, a view Taiwan's government rejects.

The WHO was forced to correct its coronavirus situation report on Monday after erroneously saying there were 13 cases in Taiwan. The island's Centres for Disease Control says there have been 11 confirmed cases of the virus there so far.

Other WHO reports have referred to Taiwan as its capital "Taipei & environs".

The tweet was posted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' official account and signed "JW", indicating it came directly from the minister.

Mr Wu isn't the only one to have challenged the WHO's treatment of Taiwan.

US politicians, including Republican Senators Mitt Romney and Cory Gardner, have in the past week called for Taiwan's immediate inclusion in the WHO, the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Criminal Police Organisation, known as Interpol.

While Taiwan's government was a founding member of the UN, the People's Republic of China took its seat in the body, and all subordinate organisations, in 1971. China considers Taiwan a part of its territory despite the People's Republic never having controlled the island.

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