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Rubio, Colleagues Urge World Health Organization to Allow Taiwan’s Participation at World Health Assembly

May 17, 2018 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) led a bipartisan group of 14 Senators in urging World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to extend an invitation to Taiwan to unconditionally participate as an observer at the upcoming 71st World Health Assembly (WHA) and any future meetings. China is aggressively increasing efforts to isolate Taiwan and block its participation in international organizations.
 
“Coordinating with nations around the world on pressing global health issues is important for the health and well-being of all people and all nations, and should not be taken hostage by any government’s political objectives,” wrote the Senators in their letter. “We urge you to restore Taiwan’s meaningful participation at the upcoming WHA and in the broader work of the WHO. With so many emerging global health challenges, it is not only in Taiwan’s interest, but also critical to the WHO’s mission of building a better and healthier future for people all over the world to include Taiwan in the 2018 World Health Assembly.” 
 
The Rubio-Menendez letter in support of Taiwan is signed by Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tom Cotton (R-AK), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
 
The full text of the letter is below:
 
Dear Director General Ghebreyesus:
 
We write regarding the upcoming 71st World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland, from May 21 to May 26, 2018, and strongly urge you to extend an invitation to Taiwan to unconditionally participate as an observer at this assembly and any future meetings. 
 
For many years, the United States Senate has strongly supported, on a bipartisan basis, Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the World Health Organization (WHO). We reaffirm our belief that it is important for appropriate global forums to include Taiwan, one of the most developed democracies and economies in the Indo-Pacific region with an advanced health care system and impressive record of providing humanitarian relief around the world.
 
Taiwan has much to contribute to the WHA and has participated as an observer at the assembly since 2009. And, given the nature of global health concerns and challenges, the WHA has much to benefit from Taiwan’s participation as an observer, and creates considerable health risk if Taiwan is excluded. We are therefore gravely concerned by the WHO’s decision last year not to invite Taiwan to participate due to pressure from the Chinese government’s global campaign to isolate and intimidate Taiwan. Coordinating with nations around the world on pressing global health issues is important for the health and well-being of all people and all nations, and should not be taken hostage by any government’s political objectives.
 
We urge you to restore Taiwan’s meaningful participation at the upcoming WHA and in the broader work of the WHO. With so many emerging global health challenges, it is not only in Taiwan’s interest, but also critical to the WHO’s mission of building a better and healthier future for people all over the world to include Taiwan in the 2018 World Health Assembly.
 
Thank you for your attention to this matter.  We look forward to your timely response.