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Senator Allen's Press Release on Introducing WHO Bill for Taiwan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               February 13, 2004                                


WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator George Allen (R-VA), Republican Chairman of the Senate Taiwan Caucus, yesterday introduced S. 2092 in support of Taiwan being granted observer status at the upcoming World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland in May 2004.  The bill has eleven original cosponsors, including Tim Johnson (D-SD), who serves as the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Taiwan Caucus, James Inhofe (R-OK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman  (D-CT), Trent Lott (R-MS), Dick Durbin (D-IL), George Voinovich (R-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Kit Bond (R-MO), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL). 

"Taiwan has one of the highest life expectancy levels in Asia and a population larger than three-fourths of the existing members of the World Health Organization," said Allen. "Giving Taiwan a seat at the table, and the opportunity to participate and exchange knowledge, benefits the entire world health community."

The legislation details the deadly spread of SARS across much of the world, including Taiwan.  Under the legislation, the citizens of Taiwan would be allowed to contribute to and benefit from the wealth of information and resources available to WHO participants.  This is especially important in light of the recent epidemic of avian influenza in Taiwan.

"It would be tantamount to medical malpractice to continue to exclude Taiwan from participation in the assessment, treatment and cure of SARS and other dangerous diseases in the world" said Senator Allen. 

Senator Allen's legislation voices the Senate's endorsement of a State Department plan to grant observer status to Taiwan.   In addition, the legislation calls on the Secretary of State to introduce a resolution at the upcoming Assembly in support of observer status for Taiwan.  A similar bill, also introduced by Senator Allen, passed the Senate and was signed into law by President Bush in 2003.   

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