Call for Bush Leadership
Taiwan's WHO Bid
RELEASE - March 16, 20001
Thirty-one Senators today called
on President George W. Bush to "stand up and take the
lead" on Taiwan's participation in the WHO as an observer
during the next World Health Assembly in Geneva.
"We believe that this
is an area where a review of past policy deserves consideration,"
states the letter initiated by Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK)
and signed by a bipartisan group that includes Senators
Trent Lott (R-MS), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Craig Thomas (R-WY),
Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Joseph Biden (D-DE). Noting that
the World Health Organization's primary objective is "the
attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level
of heath," the Senators state that, unless the Bush
Administration changes past U.S. policy, "'all peoples,'
at least as the WHO defines it, will continue to exclude
the people of Taiwan."
"Only through the United
States' leadership can we ensure that no people are left
behind in the pursuit of the highest standards of health
because of the political limitations of international organizations
of which the United States is a party," the Senators
Secretary of State Colin Powell,
in a 3/7/01 House hearing, stated that "there should
be ways for Taiwan to enjoy the full benefits of participation
[in the WHO] without being a member." Powell seemed
to promise the policy review called for by the Senators
when, in response to a question from Rep. Sherrod Brown
(D-OH), he said, "I haven't done a policy review of
this yet in this Administration."
Brown has introduced HR 428
in the House, a bill which mandates State Department pursuit
of observer status for Taiwan at the May annual summit of
the World Health Organization in Geneva. The bill currently
has 59 co-sponsors and will be marked-up in the full House
International Relations Committee on Wednesday, March 21st,
at 10:00 am.
"The time is now for the
Bush Administration to prove it will pursue a fresh policy
toward democratic Taiwan," stated FAPA President Wen-yen
Chen. "Taiwanese American communities across the nation
have found their Members of Congress most receptive about
support for Taiwan's observer status in the World Health
Assembly. We worked hard to get some new names on this letter,
like Senators Cleland, Durbin, Edwards, Feingold and Kohl.
We see WHA observer status as a good first step toward giving
Taiwan the international presence it so richly deserves.