Back to Important Issues
 

Back to WHO

 
 
WHO 2003 Campaign

Congressional Statements on HR 441 Floor Debate

    March 11, 2003

Mr. CHABOT (R-OH): Madam Speaker, I want to express my strong support for this legislation, Madam Speaker. 
My friend, the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Brown), has worked long and hard to make Taiwan's participation

in the WHO a reality, and we also want to thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos) for his leadership 
in this area as well. As in years past, I am pleased to join with them in this effort.

	The good people of Taiwan have a great deal to offer the international community. It is terribly unfortunate that 
even though Taiwan's achievements in the medical fields are substantial, and it has expressed a repeated 
willingness to assist both financially and technically in WHO activities, it has not been allowed to do so because 
of strenuous opposition from the Communist Chinese dictatorship.

My colleagues may recall the travesty that occurred back in 1998, when Taiwan suffered from a serious 
entovirus outbreak which killed 70 Taiwanese children and infected more than a thousand.

	The WHO was unable to help.

	In 1999, a tragic earthquake in Taiwan claimed more than 2,000 lives. Sadly, we learned in published news 
reports that the People's Republic of China demanded that any aid for Taiwan provided by the United Nations 
and the Red Cross receive prior approval from the dictators in Beijing. Yet when other nations face similar 
crises, Taiwan stands ready to help.

	Our friends in Taiwan were among the first to offer assistance to the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist
 attacks on our Nation. They provided generous humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. They 
have been leaders in addressing global health issues and as this legislation notes, ``The government of Taiwan, in
 response to an appeal of the United Nations and from the United States for resources to control the spread of 
HIV/AIDS, donated $1 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.''

Madam Speaker, many of us have been disappointed by our government's lack of effort to assist Taiwan in its 
attempts to obtain WHO observer status at the annual World Health Assembly in Geneva. We have

expressed our concerns to the State Department, and most recently, a bipartisan group of 64 Members of this 
body sought the personal assistance of Secretary Powell in this matter. We are hopeful that our delegation to the
 upcoming Geneva conference will stand strongly in favor of Taiwan's candidacy. . . .

Mr. LANTOS (D-CA): Madam Speaker, I strongly support H.R. 441, and urge all of my colleagues 
to do so as well. I would like to commend my colleague, the gentleman from Ohio 
(Mr. Brown) for his persistence in pushing for Taiwan's observer status at the World Health 
Organization. I also wish to acknowledge the chairmanship of the gentleman from Illinois 
(Mr. Hyde) on this critically important subject, and that of the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Chabot).

	Madam Speaker, by battling the spread of infectious diseases and increasing the quality 
of health care to the global community, the World Health Organization makes a significant contribution to 
our national security. As we meet in this Chamber today, the WHO is dealing with an outbreak of Ebola in 
Africa, implementing new strategies to stop the spread of the deadly HIV/AIDS virus, and teaching the 
developing world how to stop the transmission of tuberculosis.

	Madam Speaker, the fight for quality health care around the globe will never cease. As a result, the 
World Health Organization and its member countries must look for help from every nation to strengthen the work
of the organization. Unfortunately, strong and consistent opposition from the Chinese government in Beijing has 
repeatedly stopped the people of Taiwan from contributing to the work of the WHO.

	It is true that observer status for Taiwan will not come easy. Beijing holds sway over many WHO 
members, but the facts in support of Taiwan's case are clear and compelling, and support will undoubtedly build 
over time with active American engagement. Taiwan is one of our strongest allies in the Asia Pacific region. It is a
beacon of democracy for people around the globe.

	Taiwan has the resources and the expertise to make a significant contribution to the work of the World
Health Organization. The case for Taiwan as a member of WHO is clear and compelling, and I hope our administration 
will actively support this important initiative. I strongly support H.R. 441. I urge all of my colleagues to do so as 
well.

Mr. BROWN (D-OH) of Ohio. Madam Speaker, I strongly support H.R. 441, and I would like to thank my colleagues
on the International Relations Committee and the Congressional Taiwan Caucus for their support as well.

For the past few years, we have been pushing for Taiwan's observer status at the WHO. I don't know about the 
rest of you, but I'm starting to experience deja-vu on this issue. Congress has addressed this several times, and 
I will continue to raise it until we have a resolution.

	The World Health Organization makes a major contribution to the international community each and 
every day. The WHO has programs to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, to support 
the development of basic health care services throughout the developing world, and to provide humanitarian aid 
to those in need. In this growing struggle, the WHO and its member countries should be looking for help wherever
they can get it. Unfortunately, Taiwan's efforts to obtain observer status to the annual World Health Assembly 
meetings in Geneva have been blocked.

	While the Administration has indicated support for Taiwan's bid for WHO observer status, it is unwilling
 to match the rhetoric with action. The State Department argues that the majority of WHO members would never 
support observer status for Taiwan, and therefore the U.S. shouldn't make a concerted effort on Taiwan's behalf. 
Well I say, let's find out.

	The Administration must make a concerted effort to ensure Taiwan's participation in the WHO. The bid
may fail, but Taiwan won't be allowed to participate if we do not make the case of its involvement. Taiwan is a strong,
democratic ally. It has developmental and humanitarian resources that would make a substantial contribution to 
the WHO's mission. The people of Taiwan are volunteering these resources to fight global epidemics, and we are
turning them away at the door. They have demonstrated this time after time--in Haiti; in El Salvador; and more 
recently by contributing a million dollars to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. The world needs all
the help it can get. Taiwan is not asking to join the WHO as a state, but rather as an observer. The case for observer
status at the WHO is clear, and the Bush Administration should make it happen.

	I strongly support H.R. 441, and urge my colleagues to do so as well. 

Mr. WU (D-OR). Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support to H.R. 441, a bill to authorize the United States
to seek observer status for Taiwan within the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Every May, the World Health Assembly meets to consider the acceptance of new members to the WHO. Unfortunately
even as Taiwan is among the leaders in Asia in important health indicators, such as life expectancy and infant 
mortality, it is unable to contribute to the WHO.

	While nationhood is a membership requirement, the WHO does provide observer status to such entities
as the Vatican, the Knights of Malta, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. As a self-governing and democratic
island of twenty-three million people, and as a potential member with a great deal to contribute to the WHO, I 
strongly support WHO observer status for Taiwan.

	As we once again approach the annual World Health Assembly, I urge Secretary Colin Powell and 
Secretary Tommy Thompson to work with our friends around the world to obtain WHO observer status for Taiwan. 
I urge my colleagues to vote yes on H.R. 441. 
Any questions? Please email: home@fapa.org