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House Health Subcommittee Chair Urges Secretary of Health to Support Taiwan in Geneva

-For Immediate Release - May 8, 2001- 

 

Chairman of the House Health Subcommittee Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), in a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson released today, asked that while Thompson attends the World Health Assembly in Switzerland next week he "As you prepare for your trip to the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, I urge you to support Taiwan's observer status in the WHA, noting developments in Taiwan and the positive role Taiwan's participation in this body will have for all countries in your remarks."

Bilirakis also asked Thompson to "make time to visit with Taiwan's Minister of Health, Dr. Li Ming-liang," while at the Geneva meeting.

Bilirakis noted that such actions by Thompson "will certainly carry much weight with our friends around the globe." He reminded Thompson that the Republican Party's 2000 platform had stated, "In recognition of its growing importance in the global economy, we support Taiwan's accession to the World Trade Organization, as well as its participation in the World Health Organization and other multilateral institutions."

Bilirakis also reminded Thompson of the 407-0 vote in the House on April 24th for H.R. 428, which calls upon the Secretary of State to "initiate a United States plan to endorse and obtain observer status for Taiwan at the annual week-long summit of the World Health Assembly in May 2001 in Geneva, Switzerland, and instruct the United States delegation to Geneva to implement such a plan."

FAPA President Wen-yen Chen, Ph.D. President states: "We sincerely hope that the Secretary does speak out forcefully for Taiwan's participation in the WHA. Symbolically this -and his meeting with Taiwan’s Minister of Health- would be of great importance and will, hopefully, move other nations to support Taiwan's observer status to the Assembly as well."

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Congress of the United States

House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515-0909

May 4, 2001

The Honorable Tommy G. Thompson

Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20201-0004

Dear Secretary Thompson:

As you are aware, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that the "enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition." Yet today, Taiwan is excluded from participation in the WHO because of political pressure from the People’s Republic of China.

This means that the people of Taiwan cannot share in the WHO’s vital resources and expertise. Taiwan’s population of 23 million people is larger that three-quarters of the member states already in the WHO. Clearly, Taiwan and the world community could benefit by its participation in the WHO. The United States should actively support Taiwan’s membership in the World Health Organization.

As you know, the 2000 Republican Party platform stated, "In recognition of its growing importance in the global economy, we support Taiwan’s accession to the World Trade Organization, as well as its participation in the World Health Organization and other multilateral institutions." In addition, on several occasions, the House of Representatives has approved legislation calling for Taiwan’s participation in the WHO. On April 24, 2001, the House of Representatives unanimously approved H.R.428, which calls upon the Secretary of State to "initiate a United States plan to endorse and obtain observer status for Taiwan at the annual week-long summit of the World Health Assembly in May 2001 in Geneva, Switzerland, and … instruct the United States delegation to Geneva to implement such plan." The bill also instructs the United States delegation to Geneva to implement this plan.

As you prepare for your trip to the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, I urge you to support Taiwan's observer status in the WHA, noting developments in Taiwan and the positive role Taiwan's participation in this body will have for all countries in your remarks. I also hope that you will make time to visit with Taiwan's Minister of Health, Dr. Li Ming-liang.

Your actions in Geneva will certainly carry much weight with our friends around the globe. I sincerely hope that you will support Taiwan and its 23 million people.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Sincerely yours,

 

 

Michael Bilirakis

Member of Congress

 

Mandarin Press Release

 

 
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