Taiwan protests WHO leader's accusations of racist campaign
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan's foreign ministry on Thursday strongly protested accusations from the head of the World Health Organization that it condoned racist personal attacks on him that he alleged were coming from the self-governing island democracy.
The ministry expressed “strong dissatisfaction and a high degree of regret" at WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus' remarks at a press briefing Wednesday. It requested he “immediately correct his unfounded allegations, immediately clarify, and apologize to our country.”
Taiwan’s 23 million people have themselves been “severely discriminated against” by the politics of the international health system and “condemn all forms of discrimination and injustice,” the statement said.
Taiwan is a "mature, highly sophisticated nation and could never instigate personal attacks on the director-general of the WHO, much less express racist sentiments," it said.
At the press briefing in Geneva, Tedros vocally defended himself and the U.N. health agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He accused Taiwan's foreign ministry of being linked to a months-long campaign against him and said that since the emergence of the new coronavirus, he has been personally attacked, including receiving at times, death threats and racist abuse.
“This attack came from Taiwan,” said Tedros, who is a former Ethiopian health and foreign minister and the WHO's first African leader.
He said Taiwanese diplomats were aware of the attacks but did not dissociate themselves from them. “They even started criticizing me in the middle of all those insults and slurs,” Tedros said. “I say it today because it’s enough.” The basis of his allegations were unclear.
Tedros was elected with the strong support of China, one of...