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International relations

China seeks to deny Taiwan seat at key WHO meeting

Taipei's inclusion is backed by US, Japan and six Western nations

To gain observer status at the World Health Assembly meeting, Taiwan needs a simple majority of the World Health Organization's 194 member states. But getting the necessary 98 votes will be a formidable challenge. (Nikkei Montage/Source photo by Xinhua/Kyodo and AFP/Jiji)

TAIPEI -- When the World Health Assembly convenes next week, it will focus on the coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 4 million people and killed nearly 300,000. Yet one of the governments that has had the most success in battling the outbreak may not have a seat at the table.

On Monday, the World Health Organization will hold a vote to determine whether to grant observer status to Taiwan at the WHA, its decision-making body. While the ballot appears unlikely to go Taiwan's way, the number of countries showing support for Taipei will serve as an indicator of how much sway China has lost with many of the world's most powerful countries in the wake of the global crisis that originated within its borders.

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