Fri, Mar 07, 2003 - Page 3 News List

US congressional committee voices support for Taiwan

WHO BID The lawmakers want the US government to do more to back Taipei in gaining observer status at the WHA's May meeting


The International Relations Com-mittee of the US House of Repre-sentatives unanimously passed a resolution on Wednesday to support Taiwan's WHO bid.

Resolution No. 441, introduced by Representative Sherrod Brown on Jan. 29 and endorsed by 28 members of the House, would authorize the State Department to support and help Taiwan to take part as an observer in this May's annual meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva.

The members of Congress who backed the resolution said that Taipei's participation will not just benefit the nation itself, but its Asian neighbors and the whole world.

The resolution requests that the Secretary of State Colin Powell map out a concrete plan to assist Taipei's drive to enter the world body.

It would also have the department instruct the US delegation to the WHA to implement that plan.

The resolution hails Taiwan's donations to the international community for work to control the spread of AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, among other epidemic diseases.

If the resolution is enacted, the department would then have 14 days to draw up and submit to Congress the details of the plan.

Victor Chin (秦日新), director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of Northern American Affairs, said at a press conference yesterday that the government deeply appreciates and welcomes the American friendship and backing -- and it will continue trying to drum up widespread international support for its efforts to take part in WHO activities.

According to Chin, committee member Representative Tom Lantos issued a press release immediately following the resolution's passage urging the Bush administration to help Taiwan obtain WHO observer status.

The resolution is expected to be sent to the House for screening in the near future.

Senator George Allen has introduced a similar resolution to be screened in the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee.

Chin said 64 members of Congress also showed their backing by writing a letter to Powell on Feb. 26 urging the Bush administration adopt more active measures to endorse Taiwan's position as a WHO observer.

In related news, several Scandinavian parliamentarians on Wednesday adopted resolutions in favor of the promotion of Tai-pei's presence in the international community. The resolutions urge respect for Taiwan in its status as the most democratic country in East Asia, the establishment of stable relations between free European countries and Taiwan and support for the European Parliament's resolution last September calling for China's withdrawal of missiles targeted at Taiwan.

They also urged Taiwan's membership in international organizations and backing for Taipei becoming a WHA observer.

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