China has been accused by Taiwan's foreign minister of telling "shameless lies" in an escalating dispute about Beijing blocking the island from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The United States and the economically powerful G7 nations have called for the Chinese-claimed but democratically ruled Taiwan to attend the WHO's decision-making body, the World Health Assembly, which meets from May 24.
The G7 is an international forum made up of the seven countries with the largest advanced economies - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the US - and the European Union.
Taiwan is locked out of most global organisations, including the WHO, due to the objections of China, which considers the island one of its provinces rather than an independent nation.
China's foreign ministry said on Monday that "appropriate arrangements" have been made for Taiwan's participation in global health matters and that nobody cared more for Taiwan's people than the Chinese government.
"Shameless lies! Just goes to show the CCP can't tell the truth," Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said on Twitter, referring to China's ruling Communist Party.
"After what Beijing has done to Xinjiang, Tibet & Hong Kong, no sane person would believe it could take care of Taiwan's health needs or otherwise," Wu added.
"Thank God we aren't under China's control! Please help us keep it at a distance."
Wu said China's Communist Party could not claim to speak for Taiwan as it has never ruled it and only the island's democratically elected government can represent its people.
In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the blame lay with Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for refusing to accept the island was part of China.
"The DPP authorities know this well. Taiwan compatriots are our flesh and blood. The Chinese central government takes all necessary measures to ensure the health and well-being of the Taiwan compatriots," she said.
While the WHO co-operates with Taiwan's technical experts on COVID-19, it is up to member states whether to invite Taiwan to observe the WHO meeting, the WHO's principal legal officer Steve Solomon said on Monday.
China can easily corral enough countries to support blocking Taiwan from the World Health Assembly, according to diplomats.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's government on Tuesday tightened rules on public gatherings after reporting six new domestic COVID-19 cases with no clear source of infection, a rare rise on the island which has kept the pandemic well under control.
Taiwan largely closed its borders early on in the pandemic and has a robust contact tracing and quarantine system, meaning its low case numbers - 1210 infections to date including 12 deaths - have allowed life to carry on more or less as normal.
Australian Associated Press