TAIWAN IN THE WHO -- (Extensions of Remarks - May 14, 2007)
* Mr. WALDEN of Oregon. Madam Speaker, today in Geneva, Switzerland the 60th annual meeting will commence of the World Health Assembly, the supreme decision making body of the World Health Organization. This year the government of Taiwan is applying for membership to the WHO and Taiwan has been applying to participate in the activities of the WHO since 1997 but they have been rejected due to various political pressures.
* I think it's important that Taiwan be granted membership in the WHO. Taiwan is struggling to participate in the WHO not only for the sake of its 23 million citizens but also for the welfare of the 1.3 billion people in mainland China. With expansion of travel and trade between Taiwan and mainland China, contagious diseases can spread rapidly. Successful monitoring and prevention of infectious diseases requires cooperation from all nations.
* Taiwan has a modern, world-class health care system and has lent its talents and resources to peoples in need throughout Asia and around the world. Such capabilities are particularly important in this era of globalization, and as apprehensions continue to grow about the emergence of dangerous illnesses such as SARS and the Avian Flu. For example, when the Avian Flu pandemic struck parts of Asia in 2004, Taiwan undertook a number of preventive measures to combat the outbreak and protect its population and those of other countries. As a result of this swift and innovative work, Taiwan has not experienced an outbreak of the avian influenza and has deterred its proliferation elsewhere.
* The WHO plays a critical role in safeguarding and improving the health of the world population, and I support its admirable record of achievement as a guardian of international health. A glaring deficiency in the WHO's global program, however, is the fact that the 23 million people of democratic Taiwan are not allowed to contribute to, participate in, or benefit from its important initiatives.
* I urge my colleagues to join me in my support of Taiwan's bid for membership in the World Health Organization. For the sake of Taiwan's citizens as well as their neighbors and partners in Asia and around the world, granting membership is the wise and equitable thing to do.