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    WHO 2002 - Rep. Gilman Wrote to Powell

May 9, 2002

Dear Secretary Powell:

        We are writing to express our disappointment with the recent report issued by the State Department, pursuant to the requirement of P.L. 107-158, with regard to Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization (WHO).

        The report was more of a laundry list of obstacles, past and future, to Taiwan’s participation in the WHO, even in observer status, rather than “a United States plan to endorse and obtain observer stats for Taiwan,” as required by law.  An overview of the historic position of the United States government on the issue of Taiwan’s participation in international organizations is not what is needed, or required.  What we would like to have seen and, frankly, expected was a proactive approach with a blueprint of how to achieve our goal at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, which begins May 13.  Time is of the essence here.

        We are certain, Mr. Secretary, that you are aware of the President’s public commitment to Taiwan and to a foreign policy which is fully in keeping with the Taiwan Relations Act as a basis for cross-strait developments.  Clear recognition of Taiwan’s legitimate role in the world community through participation in international organizations is of paramount importance.  We were pleased to not that Taiwan immediately followed China in acceding to the World Trade Organization (WTO) late last year.  Beijing sought Taiwan’s participation as a “separate customs territory” for its own commercial interest but has pursued a double standard in blocking Taiwan’s observer status, as a “public health entity,” in WHO.

        Since statehood is not an issue in applying for observer status, Beijing has not grounds for its continued obstruction of Taiwan’s membership.  We need to state this forcefully and immediately and, at the same time, to inform other WHO members ready to gather in Geneva of our unequivocal advocacy of Taiwan and our intention to vigorously pursue means for obtaining Taiwan’s participation in the WHO.  Participation, at least as an observer, is crucial to the long-term health and viability of our friends, the people of Taiwan.

        Mr. Secretary, without a clear plan, we are concerned that the stated desire of the Congress and the articulated position of the Administration will fail to be implemented.  And the world will miss the opportunity to have Taiwan’s expertise, good will and assistance put to work helping to solve our global health problems.

        We true that the omissions in the recent report submitted by the State Department to the Congress will be corrected so that the United Stated can respond immediately to the need to assist our long time friends on Taiwan in participation in this important international organization.  There can be no complete satisfaction until Taiwan’s status and global contributions are respected and appreciated by the international community.

        We look forward to hearing form you regarding the State Department’s revised plan of action at the earliest possible date.



                                                                Benjamin A. Gilman


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