Winston Peters not concerned about blowback from China after supporting Taiwan

Last week New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said he personally thought Taiwan should be able to rejoin World Health Organization based on its success combatting the coronavirus.

"Every Ambassador should listen to their master".

The proposal was supported by New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and Germany, but China disparaged the claim, saying that those supporting it "severely violate the one-China principle".

The issue clearly touched a nerve Monday in Beijing, where the spokesman for China's foreign ministry was asked whether New Zealand - one of Monday's signatories - had received assurances from China's leaders that they would not push back against its efforts.

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Foreign Minister Winston Peters says there's no risk to the country's diplomatic ties with China after his comments last week that Taiwan should re-join the World Health Organisation amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We express our strong dissatisfaction with the statements and resolutely oppose it, and we have already made stern representations with New Zealand". Until 2016, Taiwan was an observer at World Health Organization, under the name "Chinese Taipei".

Meat exports from four Australian abattoir have been blocked from entering China, possibly in retaliation to Australia's backing for Taiwan. But China objected after the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and the country was again excluded.

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He said all New Zealand was saying was that Taiwan had been a "stand-out" in battling Covid-19 and that it could help other places in their responses too.

Tedros should not be manipulated by the irrational demands of one WHO member country and should restore Taiwan's observer status in the organization, she said.

"In the interests of worldwide health you want every country in an global organization created to improve the world's health", he said, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Taiwan is also squarely in the centre of the Trump administration's dispute with China and the WHO.

Peters' support was based on public health reasons, not political motivations, New Zealand news site Newsroom reported.

UN Resolution 2758 stipulates that Beijing is the sole representative of China, but it does not touch upon the issue of Taiwan, and does not award China the right to represent Taiwan at the UN and its affiliated organizations, she said.

Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) yesterday called on Tedros to "maintain the principle of professional neutrality", and face up to the fact that Taiwan and China do not belong to the same country.

But, Zhao later said, "I wonder how he came to that assumption?"

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