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WHO 2003 Campaign

CTC Letter to Secretary Powell

The Honorable Colin L. Powell
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Powell:

We are writing to seek your personal assistance with an issue that ranks as a top international relations priority for our friends in Taiwan as well as the Congressional Taiwan Caucus.

As you are undoubtedly aware, the 107th Congress passed P.L.107-158, legislation that called upon the State Department to issue a report to Congress on its efforts in behalf of furthering the goal of obtaining World Health Organization (WHO) observer status for Taiwan at the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva.

As you may recall, many Members of Congress were disappointed with the State Department's effort to assist Taiwan in its goal to obtain observer status at last years WHA in Geneva. This congressional disappointment was expressed to Deputy Assistant Secretary Donald W. Keyser in a meeting with the Congressional Taiwan Caucus members shortly after the work of the WHA was completed; in addition this message was also sent directly to your office by the former Chairman of the International Relations Committee, Representative Ben Gilman,
in a letter dated May 9, 2002.

Mr. Secretary, we hope that the United States strongly supports Taiwan's efforts to obtain observer status in the WHA. We believe that several of the obstacles to Taiwan's candidacy, as contained in the State Department's report to Congress, is not helpful in moving this issue forward. Please know we are all aware of the obstacles placed in our path due to Beijing's continued opposition to Taiwan's inclusion in the WHO and other international institutions.

The United States must have the courage of its conviction to fully support Taiwan's effort to obtain observer status at the WHA and state unequivocally before the delegates on the floor of the Assembly that we believe Taiwan's membership is both proper and just. We share the concerns of our colleagues in Congress over the level of our commitment to the people of Taiwan.

We also find support for Taiwan's observer status in the WHO a concrete means of expressing our nation's gratitude for the generous response of the people of Taiwan to the victims of the September 11 attacks and the war on terror, for providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan, and for contributing to the global campaign to address infectious diseases. Over the past year, Taiwan has taken the lead in addressing pressing global health issues, including the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Even though they are not a member of the WHO, the government of Taiwan recently donated $1 million to the newly established Global Fund to fight AIDS, Turberculosis and Malaria.

Mr. Secretary, the clock is again ticking toward the WHA next spring. We understand that the organizational meeting, where agenda items are determined for the WHA, will take place shortly.

Taiwan, in choosing to seek only observer status in the WHO, along with such nongovernmental agencies as Rotary International, has removed statehood as an issue from the table. Taiwan can be admitted as "a public health entity" similar to its WTO admission as a "separate customs territory," which Beijing favored in its own commercial interest.

Given these new realities, we believe that the United States must take a more proactive approach if we are to advance Taiwan's interests and avoid the pitfalls of last spring. What we seek is a commitment from the State Department, Mr. Secretary, that instructions be given to the delegation to the WHA to make a clear and uncompromising declaration of U.S. support for Taiwan's candidacy for observer status on the floor of the WHA itself, before the assembled delegates. We have received every indication that if the United States would step forward in this regard, others -- starting with the Japanese delegation -- would be emboldened to publicly express their own support for the proposal.

Mr. Secretary, we look forward to a response at your earliest convenience to this issue, which is of great concern to many Members of Congress and to the Taiwan Caucus. In addition, we would like to set up a meeting with you as soon as possible to discuss the Administration's strategy to support Taiwan's effort to obtain observer status at the upcoming WHA.

Thank you for your assistance. We look forward to hearing from your office to schedule a meeting concerning this important issue.


Members of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus

01. Robert Wexler                                   02. Steve Chabot                            03. Sherrod Brown
04. Dana Rohrabacher                             05. Gary Ackerman                        06. Sam Graves
07. David Wu                                          08. Eliot Engel                               09. Alcee Hastings
10. Rob Andrews                                    11. Marcy Kaptur                            12. Mike McNulty
13. Joe Hoeffel                                        14. Anthony Weiner                        15. Danny Davis
16. Charlie Gonzalez                               17. Shelley Berkley                         18. Howard Berman
19. Peter Deutsch                                   20. Mark Souder                              21. Peter King
22. Pete Stark                                        23. Marilyn Musgrave
                      24. Joe Crowley
25. Mark Kirk                                         26. Ed Schrock                               27. Virgil Goode
28. Sue Kelly                                         29. Jerry Costello                             30. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
31. Cliff Stearns                                     32. Mike Honda                                33. Tom Lantos
34. Jay Inslee                                        35. James Langevin                          36. Maurice Hinchey
37. Steve Rothman                                38. Patrick Kennedy                          39. Jo Ann Davis
40. Frank Pallone                                  41. John Linder                                 42. Curt Weldon
43. Pete Sessions                                 44. Dennis Moore
                             45. Chris Cox
46. Solomon Ortiz
                                  47. Charles Taylor                            48. Dan Burton

49. Michael Bilirakis                               50. Nita Lowey                                 51. Mike Ross
52. Walter Jones                                    53. Loretta Sanchez                         54. Henry Waxman
55. Lincoln Diaz-Balart                           56. Joe Barton                                  57. Ciro Rodriguez
58. Richard Burr                                    59. Albert Wynn                               60. Julia Carson
61. John Doolittle
                                   62. Marion Berry                              63. Todd Tiahrt                  64. Rick Larsen

Any questions? Please email: