Yoho Bill Passes House Helps Taiwan Regain WHO Status
Washington D.C. – Congressman Ted S. Yoho (R-FL) Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, gave the following statement after his bipartisan bill H.R. 3320 passed the House:
“Today, the House unanimously passed H.R. 3320, a bill I authored to advance the U.S. strategy to help Taiwan regain observer status in the World Health Organization (WHO). Taiwan is an important democratic partner for the United States, and this legislation will advance our mutual interests by ensuring that the U.S. plan to support Taiwan’s involvement in global health is responsive to recent challenges.
“Taiwan has proven time and again that it is a model contributor to world health. Since 1996, Taiwan has invested over $6 billion in international medical and humanitarian aid efforts impacting over 80 countries; it has made significant financial contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis; and in 2014, Taiwan responded to the Ebola crisis by donating $1 million and providing 100,000 sets of personal protective equipment.
“Despite Taiwan’s contributions to global health, the People’s Republic of China has stepped up its campaign to marginalize Taiwan. Last year, Beijing poached one of Taiwan’s few remaining diplomatic partners, the Republic of Panama, and prevented Taiwan’s participation in a number of international organizations. Though Taiwan had participated at the WHO’s annual summit for years, the Taiwanese delegation was blocked from attending in 2017.
“Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO serves no purpose other than to placate Beijing, and puts the world at risk. During the 2002-2003 outbreak of SARS, official WHO notifications and technical assistance to Taiwan were either blocked or delayed, all while patients in Taiwan died and the virus continued to spread. These diseases know no borders, and considering the extensive transit and trade links it shares with the world, Taiwan’s participation at the WHO is essential.
“Taiwan is a benevolent actor on the international stage and deserves to keep the place it has earned. Congress has long supported Taiwan’s international space, and my bill will continue this important work by helping to ensure that the U.S. diplomatic strategy to advocate for Taiwan’s WHO participation adapts to Beijing’s increased efforts to box out Taiwan.
“The next WHO summit will take place in May of this year. With this legislation, the House has recommitted to established U.S. policy by supporting Taiwan’s involvement in the WHO and taken a stand against Beijing’s increasingly oppressive tactics. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to join this stand and pass companion legislation at the earliest opportunity.”