Taiwan is not pleased with the Philippine government’s decision to include it in an expanded ban on all travelers coming from China, alleging that Manila was “misled” by the World Health Organization (WHO), which considers the self-governed island part of the People’s Republic.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), Taiwan’s diplomatic outpost in the Philippines, said in a statement on Wednesday that Taiwan was “wrongly included” in the government’s coronavirus-related travel ban, and added that it was never actually part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
“The Republic of China (Taiwan) is a sovereign and independent state. Taiwan issues its own passport and visas and has exclusive jurisdiction over its people and territory. In fact, Taiwan is not, nor has it ever been, part of the PRC,” the TECO said.
It added that Taiwan, which has only seen 18 confirmed coronavirus cases — compared to nearly 60,000 on the mainland — has taken all the steps necessary to control the spread of the disease.
“It is a factual error for the World Health Organization (WHO) to regard Taiwan as a part of PRC. The Philippines should not be misled by WHO’s wrong information on Taiwan,” the statement said.
“No other countries in Asia, except the Philippines, have issued [a] travel ban on Taiwan. We urge the Philippine government to immediately correct its decision on Taiwan and remove Taiwan from the travel ban.”
The Department of Health (DOH) imposed the travel ban on travelers from China and its special administrative regions last week, and later clarified that because the WHO considers Taiwan to officially be part of China, it too was included. The government’s clarification that Taiwan was included in the ban led local airlines to suspend their flights going to Taipei.
However, the WHO said yesterday that it does not recommend any nation impose travel bans of any kind, despite the mounting number of casualties from the coronavirus inside China, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports.
Taiwan has had an independent government since the 1950s, although China sees it as a breakaway province, which they have long sought to reclaim.