22:20 GMT20 September 2020
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    The World Health Organisation’s member states agreed during the virtual World Health Assembly to postpone the discussion on granting Taiwan observer status in the agency, despite mounting pressure from the United States.

    The World Health Organisation is damaging its credibility by preventing Taiwan from obtaining observer status, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday.

    "Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus' lack of independence deprives the Assembly of Taiwan's renowned scientific expertise on pandemic disease, and further damages the WHO's credibility and effectiveness at a time when the world needs it the most", Pompeo said in a statement.

    Separately, the top diplomat tweeted his support for the island, praising its efforts to contain the coronavirus quicker and more efficiently than "authoritarian regimes".

    The US previously warned the international body that excluding Taiwan from a coronavirus assembly could pose serious public health problems during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.​

    Washington stressed in a letter to the WHO that Taiwan is a responsible player that has scientific and technical expertise "that could help save lives around the world".

    Beijing strongly opposes Taiwan's bid for WHO observer status, seeing it as a violation of the "One China" principle because it continues to view Taiwan as a breakaway province.

    observers, World Health Organisation, Taiwan
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