Passes Bill Requiring State
Department Plan For Taiwan's
Health Assembly Observer Status
House today passed legislation (HR428) on the suspension
calendar mandating that the U.S. Secretary of State "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
bill, introduced with a forceful bipartisan group of 93
co-sponsors led by Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), presses the
Bush Administration to put some teeth into the effort to
obtain meaningful participation by Taiwan in international
organizations. Congressional frustration with the Clinton
State Department’s unwillingness to implement the 1994 Taiwan
Policy Review and with State’s January 4, 2000 report, which
was supposed to list the Administration’s efforts to support
Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, in
particular the WHO, motivated the bill.
excerpts of the remarks made by the Representatives: House
Asian Subcommittee chair Jim Leach (R-IA): "Taiwan
ought to be brought into as many international organizations
as possible. In this respect, participation in the WHO for
Taiwan is a constructive development." Rep. Sherrod
Brown (D-OH): "Fostering Taiwan’s participation in
the WHO is a modest step but a meaningful one." Rep.
Vic Snyder (D-AR): "Health problems and diseases do
not wait for political problems to be solved." Rep.
Danny Davis (D-IL): "I commend all the sponsors of
this bill who have understood the tremendous developments
that have taken place in Taiwan."
the debate, the bill passed by voice vote. A recorded vote
will take place tonight after 6PM. The bill will then be
automatically referred to the Senate. It needs to pass the
Senate before it can be sent to the President for a signature
signing it into law.
longer the stand-off on the plane at Hainan lasts, the bigger
the chance that the Senate will pass the bill in a timely
fashion as well," states Wen-yen Chen, Ph.D., President
Chen continues: "U.S. policy should support democratic,
human rights respecting Taiwan's right to international
recognition. The WHO bill is a small first step forward
on this issue. With passage in the Senate, President Bush
can put his stamp of approval in support of Taiwan's joining
the family of nations. We hope Mr. Bush presses the State
Department to explore every opportunity to make this happen."