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    WHO 2001 - HR 428 Passed!

April 24, 2001

House Passes Bill Requiring State Department Plan For Taiwan's

World Health Assembly Observer Status

The 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 plan."

The 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.

Some 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."

After 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.

"The 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 of FAPA.

Professor 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."

Mandarin Version

 
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