US Congress seeks Palau’s support to end China’s exclusion of Taiwan in WHO

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KOROR (Island Times/Pacnews) — A letter the from United States Congress calls on Palau to join a number of countries seeking an end to China’s efforts to keep Taiwan out of international organizations, especially World Health Organization.

The letter was signed by the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Eliot L. Engel, ranking member Michael T. McCaul, the chairman of Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, James E. Risch, and ranking member Robert Menendez.

Calling for support and inclusion into the World Health Assembly, the letter states that the United States has been consistently supporting Taiwan’s participation and membership in international organizations where possible. Furthermore, it adds that United States rejects “Beijing’s attempts to impose its position regarding Taiwan upon other United Nations member states.”

“United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 does not address the issue of representation of Taiwan and its people in the organization, nor does it give China the right to represent the people of Taiwan,” the letter states.

Citing Taiwan’s medical and humanitarian assistance to combat diseases such as AID, tuberculosis, Ebola and dengue fever around the world and its effectiveness in controlling the spread of Covid-19 in Taiwan despite its close proximity to China, the letter asserts that Taiwan has long record as reliable global health partner from whom the world could fully benefit.

The letter further states that “Beijing’s bullying tactics have effectively barred Taiwan from crucial discussions related to public health and safety. Such treatment has undermined Taiwan’s ability to contribute to international response efforts and also endanger the health and safety of the island’s 23 million people.”

The heads of both committees urged Palau government to join them in pushing for inclusion of Taiwan in global health and safety organizations, saying “diseases know no borders.”

Palau has been a consistent supporter of Taiwan’s inclusion in the international organizations within United Nations and have on more than occasion, including last remarks made by President Tommy Remengesau at the U.S. General Assembly’s 74th session last year, calling for inclusion of Taiwan in the World Health Assembly.

For his part, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called on the head of the World Health Organization to invite Taiwan to this year’s World Health Assembly, saying it is within the WHO director-general’s power to do so.

Asked for comment, Tedros did not answer the question, referring it instead to WHO legal counsel Derek Walton.

Walton said the WHO secretariat has no authority to make such a decision unilaterally as it is to be made by all 194 member states.

 He said whether or not Taiwan is invited to the assembly this year, there are “well-established arrangements” for health experts from “Taiwan, China” to work with the WHO on technical health matters.

Taiwan participated in the WHA meetings from 2009 to 2016 as on observer under the name “Chinese Taipei” amid warmer cross-Taiwan Strait relations under the then-Kuomintang administration, which prioritized reducing cross-strait tension and building friendly ties with Beijing.

Since 2017, however, China has persuaded the WHO not to invite Taiwan, in line with its hardline stance on cross-strait ties after President Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016.

 

 

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