U.S. passes bill to support Taiwan as WHO observer

05/23/2019 12:41 PM
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Image taken from facebook.com/USCapitol.
Image taken from facebook.com/USCapitol.

Taipei, May 23 (CNA) The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations unanimously passed a bill Wednesday to support Taiwan's efforts to regain observer status in the World Health Organization (WHO).

The bill was introduced Jan. 29 by U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Jim Inhofe, co-chairs of the U.S. Senate Taiwan Caucus.

The act calls for the U.S. Department of State to include additional information in its annual reports concerning Taiwan's participation in the WHO as an observer.

The reports should describe changes and improvements to plans to support Taiwan's observer status at the World Health Assembly (WHA).

Taiwan began seeking to participate in the WHO as an observer in 1997 and received an invitation each year to attend the WHA as an observer under the name of Chinese Taipei between 2009 and 2016.

Following the election of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party in 2016, Taiwan's engagement in the international community began facing increased resistance from the People's Republic of China.

Taiwan's invitation to the 2016 WHA was received late and included new language conditioning Taiwan's participation based on China's "one China principle."

In 2017, 2018 and 2019, Taiwan did not receive an invitation to the WHA because China opposed Taiwan's participation based on its position that the nation is part of China and not a separate country.

(By Chiang Chinye and Chi Jo-yao)

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