U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Sen. Menendez (D-N.J.), co-chairs of the U.S. Senate Taiwan Caucus, introduced legislation today calling for the Secretary of State to develop a strategy for Taiwan to regain observer status in the World Health Organization ahead of their annual global assembly next month. They were joined by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) as original cosponsors of the legislation.
“Taiwan has shown its commitment to world health by joining the international response to numerous global health challenges, but has been prevented from participating in the World Health Assembly for the last two years, even as an observer. It is clear that China’s diplomatic bullying efforts are responsible for blocking Taiwan’s invitation,” Inhofe said. “Taiwan deserves a seat at the table in all international bodies, but especially those where they have shown substantial positive leadership. President Trump has shown that he’s willing to stand up to China’s aggressive position militarily, economically and diplomatically. Actively working to get Taiwan a seat at the table in the World Health Assembly will go a long way in checking China’s efforts to enact their expansionist agenda through international organizations.”
“The decision by the World Health Organization – under pressure from Beijing – to revoke Taiwan’s invitation and exclude it from the World Health Assembly is deeply concerning,” Menendez said. “Given the need to assure full international coordination and cooperation to effectively combat the threat of deadly pandemics and other health crises around the globe, the politically motivated exclusion of Taiwan from the WHA is both short-sighted and potentially dangerous. Health issues don’t stop at borders or pay heed to politics. This commonsense legislation would ensure the United States makes every effort to advocate for Taiwan’s formal inclusion as the international community addresses international public health issues.”
“As China continues its efforts to isolate and bully Taiwan, the United States must stand strong in our commitment to ensuring Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations,” Rubio said. “This important piece of legislation will do just that by directing the Secretary of State to develop a strategy for Taiwan to regain observer status at the World Health Organization after they were excluded in 2017.
Read the legislation here.