The Senate Foreign Relations Committee today passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), co-chairmen of the Senate Taiwan Caucus that would require the State Department to submit a report detailing the U.S. Government’s plan to obtain observer status for Taiwan at the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the World Health Organization. Inhofe and Menendez have long championed Taiwan’s participation in appropriate international organizations, but Taiwan has faced increasing opposition from the People’s Republic of China to join the WHA and other international organizations.
“Taiwan is a global leader in medical technology and humanitarian aid, yet the People’s Republic has done everything in its power to resist Taiwan’s accession to the WHA,” said Sen. Menendez. “In a world of increasingly inter-connected global health challenges and pandemics, China’s actions put at risk not just the people of Taiwan but the entire planet. It is critical that the United States demonstrate our support for Taipei and our resolve in the face of Beijing’s bullying tactics. I look forward to the State Department’s detailed plan – and efforts -- to secure observer status for Taiwan.”
“I am proud S. 249, which would require the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to ensure Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly, has been positively reported out of committee today and sent to the full Senate for consideration,” said Sen. Inhofe. “For years, Beijing has blocked Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization, and it is past time we end this diplomatic bullying. Taiwan has long shown its commitment to global health by reliably joining the international response to numerous global health challenges. It has earned a seat at the table in all international bodies, especially those where they have shown substantial positive leadership. Depriving the World Health Assembly of Taiwan’s expertise in global health makes the world less healthy and less safe, including people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Beijing should be ashamed. Taiwan is a key security and trading partner of this country, and it is important that Congress and this administration make clear to Beijing that Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations remains a high priority of the United States.”
A copy of the legislation can be found here.