of the United States
Taiwan has evolved into a healthy, prosperous nation governed
by the rule of law. The people of Taiwan have proved
freedom and democracy are not just American ideals, they
are universal principles that apply to every individual,
to every community, and to every nation.
Former President Lee Teng Hui's call on July 9, 1999 for
"state-to-state" relations with the People's Republic
of China will be forever etched in the minds of the Taiwanese
people as the day its government finally decided to acknowledge
the beliefs of its 23 million people. If the United
States believes so strongly in self determination and the
freedom for all people, we must support Taiwan and immediately
abandon our misguided "One China Policy."
The U.S. State Department's 1994 Taiwan Policy Review clearly
stated it would more actively support Taiwan's membership
in international organizations, when the U.S. government
determines "it is clearly appropriate."
But as the Clinton Administration is positioned to influence
international policy, it refuses to take the lead and support
In August, I joined over 40 of my colleagues as original
co-sponsors of H. Con. Res. 390, which calls on the Clinton
Administration to "fulfill the commitment it made in
the 1994 Taiwan Policy Review to more actively support Taiwan's
membership in appropriate international organizations."
Taiwan and its 23,000,000 people deserve appropriate meaningful
participation in the United Nations and other international
organizations such as World Health Organization.
Taiwan's growing regional and global significance demands
a more active and thoughtful U.S. policy. Our ties
with Taiwan must encompass all aspects of Taiwan's security,
trade relations, our support for the right of self-determination
for the people of Taiwan, our defense policy, and our support
for Taiwan's participation in international organizations.
Children suffer from the effects of inadequate health care,
whether they live in New York, London, Beijing, or Taipei.
With the high frequency of international travel, the risk
of transmitting infectious diseases such as AIDS and tuberculosis
is greater than ever. Increased international trade
leads to a greater potential for the cross-border spread
of such deadly viruses.
In 1998, Taiwan fell into the grip of a fatal outbreak of
enterovirus 71. The virus causes severe inflammation
of muscles around the brain, spinal cord and heart.
Infants and children are most vulnerable to this highly
contagious virus. Unfortunately, the Taiwanese doctors
treating this illness did not have access to the medical
resources of the World Health Organization (WHO).
By the time this outbreak was under control, 70 Taiwanese
children had died, most of whose deaths could have been
prevented if access to the WHO were available. The
fact that Taiwan is severely crippled in its effort to save
children is a tragedy.
Infectious disease and sickness are not limited to political
borders, and it is troubling that our government tacitly
supports a policy that endures the Taiwanese people are
denied access to the newest medical treatments and procedures.
The denial of WHO membership to Taiwan is an unjustifiable
violation of its people's fundamental human rights.
Good health is a basic right for every citizen of the world,
and Taiwan's admission to the WHO would foster that right
for its people. The Director General of the WHO, Dr.
Gro Harlem Brundtland, once stated: "Health has no
borders. Health is a human right."
This year, I introduced H.R. 4004, which would require our
State Department to initiate a plan to endorse and obtain
observer status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization.
Nearly 30 of my colleagues joined me in cosponsoring this
bill. I have fought to get our State Department to
support Taiwan's membership in the WHO for the last three
years. The imminent passage of this bill would be
a huge victory for every Taiwanese citizen and every American
who cares about human rights.
Taiwan has much to offer the international community, and
deserves access to important international resources provided
by organizations such as the WHO. It is my hope we
can pass both bills before Congress adjourns. This
will send a strong message to the international community
that 23 million people of Taiwan are ready, willing and
able to participate fully in the family of nations.
Taiwan deserves and should ultimately have full U.N. membership.
This resolution is, nonetheless, a significant step forward.
Member of Congress