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Congressman Brown terms State Department Report on Taiwan into the WHO unacceptable
Washington, 13 January 2000
U.S. Congressman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued a statement on Thursday, 13 January 2000, in which he termed the Clinton Administration's report on Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) "simply unacceptable."
On 4 January 2000, the State Department released its report on its efforts to secure Taiwan's participation in the WHO, as required by an initiative passed by Congress last year, and signed by the President. The legislation was sponsored by Mr. Brown, a member of the Asia and Pacific Subcommittee in the House, and the top Democrat on the Commerce, Health and Environment Subcommittee.
Mr. Brown called the report unacceptable because, he said "..instead of the active support for Taiwan's participation that Public Law 106-137 mandates, this report is a passive recital of the obstacles the People's Republic of China and its allies have raised."
He added: "The Congress called for leadership. We don't want to hear that 'the Administration supports any modalities or arrangements acceptable to the membership of the WHO to allow for Taiwan to participate in the work of the organization.' We want to hear that the Administration is taking the lead in building support for Taiwan's participation."
He continued: "We don't want to hear that '...there is currently not sufficient support within the membership to accomplish this [observer status for Taiwan].' We want the U.S. taking leadership to build support for such status. The observer status of the Vatican, the knights of Malta, and the PLO are noted as historically conditioned. Now is the time, the right moment in history, for Taiwan to join the WHO with such status.
Mr. Brown went on to say that the Administration's pledge to take future steps to elicit China's blessing for Taiwan's WHO participation defies common sense. He said: "When I attended the World Health Assembly's Geneva meeting last year, I was shocked to see our representatives sit silently while China and Myanmar, nations with the worst record on human rights denounced Taiwan's membership in the WHO as 'a threat to Asian stability.' The last time we went through China to help the Taiwanese, victims of a catastrophic earthquake languished for three days while the U.N. waited for China's approval to distribute aid."
Mr. Brown angrily concluded: "We're glad to hear the Administration is exploring 'concrete opportunities for Taiwan to participate in the work of the WHO,' but we mandated support for "appropriate and meaningful participation" in the organization, not simply in its 'work.' I will ask my Congressional colleagues to mandate that the Administration vote for Taiwan's observer status this year, and take a vigorous leadership role with other nations to insure a positive vote for Taiwan."
The Taiwanese-American community wholeheartedly welcomed Congressman Brown's remarks. Professor Chen Wen-yen, President of the Washington-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), stated: "Congressman Brown's statement is right on the mark. We fully support his call for leadership by the United States on this and other Taiwan-related issues."