Statement by Benjamin Gilman (R-NY)

Washington, 10 October 1998

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in strong support of House Concurrent Resolution 334 regarding Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization. I am proud to be a cosponsor of this resolution.

First, I want to commend the gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon), the distinguished chairman of our Committee on Rules and my good friend, for introducing and advocating this measure. This body will certainly miss his outstanding leadership as chairman of our Committee on Rules and his continued interest in our Nation's security and in our foreign policy. We thank the gentleman for his continued advocacy, not only on behalf of Taiwan, but so many other nations around the world. Mr. Speaker, I also want to thank the distinguished gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Bereuter), chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, for helping to craft appropriate language for this resolution, as well as the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Brown) for his perseverance on this issue.

Mr. Speaker, I believe we all agree that good health is a basic human right of people everywhere. That right, though, can only be guaranteed if all people have unfettered access to all available resources regarding health care. The World Health Organization, a United Nations body which has 191 participating entities, is one of those important resources.

But today, regrettably, Taiwan, a Nation of 21 million people, has been denied a share in that basic human right. That is wrong, and it is time for the House to go on record correcting that. Denying Taiwan participation in the World Health Organization is not justifiable in this day and age. Good health is a fundamental right of all people and the people of Taiwan are no exception.

United States support for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization is appropriate. In today's modern global environment, Taiwan's meaningful involvement in World Health Organization activities will benefit the people of Taiwan and the world as well. So, it is time for the Clinton administration to do the right thing, to take affirmative action, and to seek appropriate participation for Taiwan in the World Health Organization.

There are opportunities for Taiwan to pursue observer status which would allow the people of Taiwan to participate in a substantive manner in the scientific and health activities of the WHO. Consequently, I call upon the administration to pursue all initiatives in the WHO which will allow these 21 million people to share in the health benefits that the WHO can provide. That is the right thing to do and, accordingly, I urge my colleagues to fully support this resolution.

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