Taiwan accused China on Tuesday of “maliciously” blocking its access to the World Health Organization (WHO), risking people’s well-being for politics.

This claim followed after Beijing signalled it would not allow the island to attend a major WHO meeting.

The United States and the rich-nation Group of Seven (G7) had invited Taiwan to attend the WHO’s decision-making body, the World Health Assembly, starting May 24 but China’s foreign ministry said on Monday the island had to accept it was part of China if it wanted access to global bodies.

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However, Taipei has refused, saying “appropriate arrangements” have been made for Taiwan’s participation in global health matters.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Joanne Ou insisted that the Taiwan government and not China has the sole right to represent its people in the WHO and other bodies.

She said China was lying and seeking to mislead the international community.

“China’s malicious obstruction is the main obstacle to the WHO’s failure to fully include Taiwan in technical discussions,” she said.

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“It also shows China’s continued tyrannical act of putting politics above health and human rights.”

Taiwan is locked out of most global organisations such as the WHO due to the objections of China, which considers the island one of its provinces, not a country.

Although Taiwan is democratically governed, China strongly seeks to occupy the region.

The invitation would have to be ratified with a vote, and according to diplomats, China can easily get enough countries to block it.

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