House to Secretary Albright: Let Taiwan into WHO

Washington, 9 February 1999

On Tuesday, 9 February 1999, a bipartisan group of 12 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, urging her to step up U.S. efforts to secure affiliation for Taiwan in the World Health Organization (WHO).

The letter was initiated by Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown, and co-signed by the following members of the House of Representatives: Joe Barton (R-TX), Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), Dan Burton (R-IN), Peter Deutsch (D-FL), Deanna DeGette (D-CO), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Peter King (R-NY), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Brad Sherman (D-CA).

The text of the letter is as follows:

Congress of the United States

Washington, DC 20515

February 9, 1999

The Honorable Madeleine Albright
U.S. Secretary of State
Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Albright:

Since 1972, the people of Taiwan have been blocked from participating in the World Health Organization. As a consequence, the children of Taiwan needlessly suffer because their doctors are denied access to the latest WHO protocols. Unfortunately, with each passing year our administration worsens Taiwan's plight by supporting China's assertion that its neighbor is not a nation and therefore should not be represented in the international community.

The fact of the matter is that participation for Taiwan in the World Health Organization poses no threat to Beijing's security but would enhance the quality of life for its 1.2. billion inhabitants. The WHO is a benign organization, working to eradicate and control disease and to improve the health of people around the world. It has instituted highly effective immunization programs, allowing hundreds of millions of children live better, longer and healthier lives. The WHO has already helped protect eight out of ten children worldwide from major childhood diseases, including measles and tuberculosis, and has worked to reduce the global infant mortality by nearly forty percent since 1970.

We should all be deeply distressed by our government's refusal to assist Taiwan in its struggle to conquer diseases which we ourselves have already practically exterminated. Last year, the House of Representatives initiated a campaign to right this wrong. Our efforts culminated in the passage of H.Con.Res.334 on October 9, 1998 with 418 members supporting participation for Taiwan in the World Health Organization. There were no abstaining votes.

This May, the World Health Organization will convene its annual Ministers Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Given the unanimous support in the House of Representatives for Taiwan's participation in the WHO, we request your office inform us of the steps the U.S. will pursue in securing WHO affiliation for the 21 million people of free and democratic Taiwan.

Your prompt response is appreciated.


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