Senators introduce"Taiwan into WHO" resolution

Washington, 20 January 1999

US Senator Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) and a bipartisan group of five other prominent Senators, including the chairman of the East Asian and Pacific Affairs subcommittee in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Craig Thomas (R-Wyo) and Robert Torricelli (D-NJ), introduced a resolution calling on the Clinton Administration to support Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization (WHO).

The move follows a unanimous vote in the House of Representatives in October 1998, with the same purpose.

The text of the resolution follows below:


Relating to Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization.

S.Res. 26

(Senate - January 20, 1999) [Page: S801] Mr. MURKOWSKI (for himself, Mr. Torricelli, Mr. Helms, Mr. Thomas, Mr. Mack and Mr. Smith of Oregon) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations:

  • Whereas good health is a basic right for every citizen of the world and access to the highest standards of health information and services is necessary to help guarantee this right;
  • Whereas direct and unobstructed participation in international health cooperation forums and programs is therefore crucial, especially with today's greater potential for the cross-border spread of various infectious diseases such as AIDS and Hong Kong bird flu through increased trade and travel;
  • Whereas the World Health Organization (WHO) set forth in the first chapter of its charter the objective of attaining the highest possible level of health for all people;
  • Whereas in 1977 the World Health Organization established "Health for all by the year 2000" as its overriding priority and reaffirmed that central vision with the initiation of its `Health For All' renewal process in 1995;
  • Whereas Taiwan's population of 21,000,000 people is larger than that of 3/4 of the member states already in the World Health Organization and shares the noble goals of the organization;
  • Whereas Taiwan's achievements in the field of health are substantial, including one of the highest life expectancy levels in Asia, maternal and infant mortality rates comparable to those of western countries, the eradication of such infectious diseases as cholera, smallpox, and the plague, the first Asian nation to be rid of polio, and the first country in the world to provide children with free hepatitis B vaccinations;
  • Whereas prior to 1972 and its loss of membership in the World Health Organization, Taiwan sent specialists to serve in other member countries on countless health projects and its health experts held key positions in the organization, all to the benefit of the entire Pacific region;
  • Whereas the World Health Organization was unable to assist Taiwan with an outbreak of enterovirus 71 which killed 70 Taiwanese children and infected more than 1,100 Taiwanese children in 1998;
  • Whereas Taiwan is not allowed to participate in any WHO-organized forums and workshops concerning the latest technologies in the diagnosis, monitoring, and control of diseases;
  • Whereas in recent years both the Taiwanese Government and individual Taiwanese experts have expressed a willingness to assist financially or technically in WHO-supported international aid and health activities, but have ultimately been unable to render such assistance;
  • Whereas the World Health Organization does allow observers to participate in the activities of the organization;
  • Whereas the United States, in 1994 Taiwan Policy Review, declared its intention to support Taiwan's participation in appropriate international organizations; and
  • Whereas in light of all of the benefits that such participation could bring to the state of health not only in Taiwan, but also regionally and globally:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate, That it is the sense of the Senate that--

  1. Taiwan and its 21,000,000 people should have appropriate and meaningful participation in the World Health Organization;
  2. the Secretary of State should report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by April 1, 1999 on the efforts of the Secretary to fulfill the commitment made in the 1994 Taiwan Policy Review to more actively support Taiwan's membership in international organizations that accept non-states as members, and to look for ways to have Taiwan's voice heard in international organizations; and
  3. the Secretary of State shall report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by April 1, 1999 on what action the United States will take at the May 1999 World Health Organization meeting in Geneva to support Taiwan's meaningful participation.
* * * * * * * * * * * *

Back to: News and Current Events