Back to Important Issues

Back to WHO

    WHO 2002

May 1, 2002

The Honorable Colin Powell

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street, N.W.

Washington, DC 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We are writing with regard to the upcoming World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva, and, specifically, the Administration's policy toward Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization (WHO).

Public Law 107-158, which amended Public Law 107-10, authorized you to initiate a plan to endorse and obtain observer status for Taiwan at the upcoming World Health Assembly meeting. Pursuant to that requirement, the State Department submitted to the Chairman of the House International Relations Committee a report on the U.S. plan. While the report expresses support for increasing Taiwan's participation in the WHO, and concludes that the United States remains committed to working with Taiwan to achieve that objective, we are disappointed that it does not more clearly articulate a plan aimed at doing so.

We believe that the people of Taiwan deserve access to the highest standards of health information and services. And, given the growing threat of bioterrorism, it is imperative that vital information can be made universally available. We see no reason why Taiwan should continue to be excluded from having the same benefits as non-state entities (such as the Palestinian Authority) with observer status in the WHO. As Mr. James Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, stated in testimony to the House International Relations Committee, "There are many non-state entities with observership in the World Health Organization. That is something really that I think Taiwan could in fact add to measurably." We couldn't agree more.

We believe that it is important for the United States to take the lead on this issue. As such, we urge the Administration to take a more vigorous, concrete approach to supporting observer status for Taiwan. We respectfully request that, prior to the May World Health Assembly meeting, you publicly endorse Taiwan's observership in the WHO, and that the United States actively encourage other WHO member states to support observership for Taiwan.

Thank you in advance for your timely consideration of this matter.


Robert Torricelli (D-NJ),  Jon Kyl (R-AZ), George Allen(R-VA), Bill Frist (R-TN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Frank Murkowski (R-AK),Sam Brownback (R-KS)

John Rockefeller (R-WV),  Bob Smith(R-NH), Don Nickles (R-OK), John McCain(R-AZ)

Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Trent Lott(R-TN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)

Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Daniel Akaka(D-HI), Kent Conrad(D-ND)

Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeff Bingaman(D-NM), Mark Dayton (D-MN), Tim Johnson (D-SD)

John Warner (R-VA), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Orrin Hatch(R-UT), Robert Bennett (R-UT)

Wayne Allard (R-CO), Conrad Burns(R-MT), Pat Roberts(R-KS), James Inhofe(R-OK)

Craig Thomas (R-WY), James Jeffords (R-VT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Larry Craig(R-ID)

Zell Miller (D-GA)

Any questions? Please email: