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Taiwan thanks G7 support for Taiwan's participation in WHO forums

People wear face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus as they exit a subways station in Taipei, Taiwan, on April 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

TAIPEI (Kyodo) -- Taiwan expressed appreciation on Thursday for the support of the Group of Seven foreign ministers calling for the self-ruled island's participation in World Health Organization forums and the meeting of the WHO's decision-making body, which is opposed by China.

    Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou pointed out that it is the first time Taiwan has been included in the communique of the G-7 foreign ministers' meeting.

    "We highly welcome the joint statement and sincerely thank their strong support for Taiwan," Ou said.

    Ou said Taiwan will continue to deepen cooperation with G-7 members to jointly safeguard global health as well as peace, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.

    Foreign ministers from the G-7 member states -- the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan -- issued a joint statement when they concluded the three-day conference in London on Wednesday.

    To strengthen global cooperation on issues of concern to all, they agreed that it is vital to ensure inclusive processes in international organizations. Therefore, the statement said, they support Taiwan's "meaningful participation" in WHO forums and the World Health Assembly.

    "The international community should be able to benefit from the experience of all partners, including Taiwan's successful contribution to the tackling of the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement said.

    In addition to expressing serious concern about the situation in and around the East and South China seas, the ministers underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encouraged the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues.

    They emphasized their strong opposition to any unilateral actions that could escalate tensions and undermine regional stability and the international rules-based order, while expressing serious concerns about reports of militarization, coercion and intimidation in the region.

    Taiwan and mainland China have been governed separately since they split amid a civil war in 1949. Beijing has since regarded Taiwan as a renegade province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

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