A bipartisan group of 13 U.S. senators wrote a letter to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Wednesday, asking that Taiwan be invited to take part in next week's World Health Assembly (WHA).
Led by Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the U.S. senators asked Ghebreyesus to issue an invitation to Taiwan to allow it to unconditionally participate as an observer at the annual WHA, which will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from May 21-26.
"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," the letter reads.
They also expressed grave concern about China's increasing efforts to isolate Taiwan and block its participation in world bodies, saying that "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."
The letter 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).
Taiwan launched its efforts to join the global health care system in 1997 but was not invited to attend the WHA -- the decision-making body of the WHO -- as an observer until 2009, when the Kuomintang was the ruling party.
From 2009-2016, the country was able to attend the WHA, but after the election of the pro-Taiwan independence Democratic Progressive Party's Tsai Ing-wen (???) as president in 2016, and the refusal of her administration to accept the "1992 consensus" as a basis for talks with China, Taiwan did not receive an invitation to attend the WHA in 2017 and 2018.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel