Yoho Bill to Bring Taiwan Back into the WHO
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Ted S. Yoho (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, has introduced H.R. 3320. This bipartisan bill is focused on improving the U.S. strategy for promoting Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization (WHO). Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Brad Sherman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific; Gerry Connolly (D-VA); and Steve Chabot (R-OH) are original sponsors of this bill.
The bill amends Congress’ legislative mandate for the State Department’s report on Taiwan’s participation in the WHO. It instructs the Secretary of State to report how the Department has improved its strategy to obtain observer status for Taiwan at the World Health Assembly, following any meetings of the Assembly for which Taiwan did not receive such status.
“With an ever growing and increasingly connected global population, it is important that we not let geopolitics get in the way of public health. Time and again, Taiwan has proven to be an important participant in the effort to identify, study, and combat global health crises. Despite this, China successfully prevented Taiwan from participating in the 2017 World Health Assembly, as part of a wider campaign to ratchet up the pressure on Taiwan’s international space,” Chairman Yoho said. “China’s short sighted attempts to restrict Taiwan’s contributions to global health endanger us all, as diseases know no borders. This legislation will ensure that U.S. diplomatic efforts advocate effectively for Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization. Furthermore, China should accept the role Taiwan has played in improving global health.”
Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce (R-CA):
“Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization is a matter of public health. Taiwan has contributed greatly to international efforts to prevent epidemics and provide critical humanitarian aid. The wrongful decision this year by the World Health Assembly to exclude Taiwan should not be allowed to happen again.”
Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel (D-NY):
“Taiwan is a model contributor to global public health, as in so many other areas. A disease does not respect national boundaries, and neither should politics play a role in efforts to address global-health challenges. It's in America's interest for Taiwan to participate in the World Health Assembly and other international fora where it already meaningfully contributes to health and safety. This legislation is a win-win: it promotes global health and seeks to improve our efforts on Taiwan’s behalf. I'm pleased to be an original cosponsor of this bill.”
Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Brad Sherman (D-CA):
“The U.S. needs to continue to advocate broader participation for Taiwan in international organizations, including the UN’s World Health Organization.
“China’s mission to degrade and deny Taiwan’s involvement in this organization makes the world a more dangerous place by denying the rights of over 23 million people to participate in life-saving initiatives and the ability of Taiwan and the international community to deal with outbreaks early.
“This bill would strengthen existing reporting requirements on American efforts to promote Taiwan’s observer status at the World Health Organization; we must ensure that the people of Taiwan are permitted to participate in life-saving global health initiatives.”
Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA):
"Public health should not be political. Taiwan's meaningful participation in the World Health Assembly is in the best interests of not only the people of Taiwan but also the entire international community. Taiwan has been a critical partner on numerous global health issues, including the Ebola crisis, and the United States should continue to support Taiwan's engagement with the World Health Organization and other international organizations to address global health and disease prevention needs."
Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH):
"I am pleased to support Taiwan's ongoing efforts to participate in the World Health Assembly," Chabot said. "For far too long, Taiwan has been marginalized from global conversations despite being an instrumental part of the community and consistently contributing to medical advances and crises. Through HR 3320, Taiwan will get the recognition that it deserves and will gain a voice in the decision-making process regarding world health."