The bill, co-sponsored last month by Republican Young Kim and Democrat Brad Sherman, was signed by a large number of members of both parties.
The bill, H.R. 1145, would direct the U.S. secretary of state to implement a strategy to restore Taiwan’s observer status at the WHO and its executive body, the World Health Assembly.
In a statement Thursday, Rep. Kim Young-ok said, “Taiwan is a strong ally of the United States and a partner in the world’s global health and security, and just recently has responded swiftly to the Chinese Communist virus disease. Unfortunately, the People’s Republic of China’s exclusion of Taiwan has prevented it from engaging in critical cooperation and information sharing with WHO.”
In a statement, Rep. Sherman said, “The CCP’s continued exclusion of Taiwan from the WHO is unacceptable. The State Department must work diligently to support Taiwan as it looks to restore its observer status. I will continue to work with my colleagues and the Biden administration to strengthen U.S.-Taiwan relations.”
Rep. Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, cosponsored the bill. Smith mentioned Thursday that Taiwan sent out an alert about the virus early in the outbreak when Beijing was still hiding the truth, and that Taiwan also donated 300,000 masks to New Jersey last April during the grim period of the outbreak. He said democratic Taiwan has been exemplary in responding to global health crises and engaging with the world, and that “its exclusion from the WHO because of the Chinese Communist Party is a scandal that threatens global health and highlights the Chinese Communist Party’s disregard for the common global good under Xi Jinping.”
The bill next goes to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
Taiwan was able to attend the World Health Assembly as an observer under the name “Chinese Taipei” every year from 2009 until 2015 under the presidency of KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou, and has not been able to attend as an observer since 2016, when political relations between Beijing and Taipei deteriorated following the election of DPP’s Tsai Ing-wen as president. Taiwan has not been able to attend the WHO as an observer since then.