Senators Criticize Secret China-WHO M.O.U. And Bush Administration’s Lack Of Initiatives In Bringing Taiwan Into The WHO

In a letter to President Bush dated August 1, 2008, four Senators led by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) express disappointment about the World Health Assembly’s (WHA) decision last May to again exclude Taiwan from participating in the annual weeklong meeting in Geneva and urge President Bush to seek inclusion of the 23 million people in the World Health Organization (WHO).

For the past twenty years, Senator Sherrod Brown has been a leading voice in both Houses of Congress for the inclusion of the 23 million people of Taiwan in the World Health Organization.

The Senators write: “We regret that the Administration was not able to find ways to make Taiwan’s voice heard in the World Health Organization (WHO).  Taiwan’s participation is vital if we are to effectively combat global health threats.  We urge you to support and advocate for Taiwan’s membership in the WHO.”

They continue: “Very little progress has been made since Public Law No. 107-10 mandated the Secretary of State endorse “meaningful participation” for Taiwan in the WHA.  We are concerned that the recent report by the State Department to Congress regarding Taiwan’s participation in the WHO did not mention any administration initiatives in this regard.”

In a thinly disguised jab at the secret Memorandum of Understanding that China concluded with the WHO in 2005 allowing China to determine which information from the WHO reaches Taiwan, if any, the Senators add: “In addition to supporting Taiwan’s full membership, the United States must oppose any effort by China to interfere with the exchange of information between the WHO and Taiwan.  The effectiveness of the WHO relies on the direct flow of information among health experts.  Any efforts to curtail the free exchange of information unnecessarily threatens global health and the safety of every nation.”

They conclude: “As global health threats emerge, the public health of our nation increasingly depends on cooperation and communication between every nation.  It is in America’s best interest to ensure that Taiwan is a full member of the WHO.”

FAPA President Bob Yang, PhD states: “We agree with the Senators that the secret PRC-WHO M.O.U. needs to go. This arrangement is not only inconceivable, it is likely unlawful for a multilateral international organization to make bilateral arrangements with one of its members. The bottomline is that the United States and the rest of the world should express its outrage – not only about this M.O.U. arrangement but about China’ continued playing of politics with the lives of the people of Taiwan.”

 

美參議員抨擊世衛與中國秘密備忘錄,不滿布希政府欠缺協助台灣參與世衛實質行動

參議員布朗與位同僚於8月1日 聯署致函布希總統,對於今年五月世衛大會再次拒絕台灣參與深表失望。他們並希望布希總統能夠協助台灣兩千三百萬人民被容納在世衛組織內。

參議員布朗自十多年前還是眾議院成員時,就帶頭發起美國國會支持台灣參與世衛,是台灣爭取世衛參與最忠實的國際友人,每年在美國國會以引進議案,發表聲明或是致函等方式,十多年來毫不間斷,為台灣爭取世衛權益不餘遺力。

議員們在信裡表示:「我們很遺憾行政部門無法找到適當管道,讓世衛聽到台灣的聲音。如果我們要有效率地抵抗對全球衛生系統的威脅,台灣的參與是非常重要的。我們籲請您支持台灣世衛會員籍。」

自從您簽署第107-10號法律,明文規定國務卿支持台灣有意義的參與世衛年度大會,此議題並沒有太大的進展。我們尤其擔心最近國務院呈報給國會的報告裡,並沒有提到任何行政部門在這方面的努力。

由於中國在2005年與世衛秘書處秘密簽署一份備忘錄,允許中國自行單方決定哪些世衛資訊可以傳達台灣,議員們在信裡表達嚴重的關切。「除了支持台灣的完整會員籍外,美國必須反對任何中國意欲干涉世衛與台灣之間的資訊交流。世衛的效率建立在衛生專家們之間意見與資訊的自由交流。任何阻撓資訊自由交流的意圖,將威脅到全球衛生體系與各國的健康安全。」

議員們在信函結尾表示:「當全球健康體系受到威脅時,美國本身的公衛更須逐漸依賴世界各國之間的合作與溝通無阻。也因此,台灣成為世衛完整會員國一員是符合美國的利益之內。」

FAPA會長楊英育表示:「我們和這幾位參議員的看法一致,世衛與中國的秘密備忘錄必須立即中止。這份備忘錄不僅令人難以想像,一個國際組織私下與某一會員國簽署文件可說是違法的,並違背其他組織會員國的權益。最終底線是,美國與國際社會應該針對備忘錄,以及中國持續耍手段,將政治置台灣人民性命之上表達最嚴重的抗議。」

*****

The Honorable George W. Bush

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

We were again disappointed by the World Health Assembly’s (WHA) recent decision to continue its ban on Taiwan’s participation.  We regret that the Administration was not able to find ways to make Taiwan’s voice heard in the World Health Organization (WHO).  Taiwan’s participation is vital if we are to effectively combat global health threats.  We urge you to support and advocate for Taiwan’s membership in the WHO.

Very little progress has been made since Public Law No. 107-10 mandated the Secretary of State endorse “meaningful participation” for Taiwan in the WHA.  We are concerned that the recent report by the State Department to Congress regarding Taiwan’s participation in the WHO did not mention any administration initiatives in this regard.

Public health threats like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Extensively Resistant Tuberculosis, and the H5N1 virus are not constrained by national boundaries. Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO creates a dangerous gap in the exchange of information among countries and puts global health security at risk.  Taiwan’s expertise and leadership in combating these global threats must be fully utilized in the global effort to fight these diseases.

We agree with recent statements of former Senator Bob Dole, highlighting that “The ca se for admitting Taiwan into the WHO could not be clearer,” as well as his assertion that that there must be a major diplomatic push to support Taiwan’s candidacy.

In addition to supporting Taiwan’s participation, the United States must oppose any effort by China to interfere with the exchange of information between the WHO and Taiwan.  The effectiveness of the WHO relies on the direct flow of information among health experts.  Any efforts to curtail the free exchange of information unnecessarily threatens global health and the safety of every nation.

As global health threats emerge, the public health of our nation increasingly depends on cooperation and communication between every nation.  It is in America’s best interest to ensure that Taiwan is a member of the WHO.

We look forward to hearing from you on this important issue.

Sincerely,

Sherrod Brown, Johnny Isakson, David Vitter, Jon Tester, and Joseph Lieberman

(August 2, 2008) Senators Criticize Secret China-WHO M.O.U. And Bush Administration’s Lack Of Initiatives In Bringing Taiwan Into The WHO / 美參議員抨擊世衛與中國秘密備忘錄,不滿布希政府欠缺協助台灣參與世衛實質行動