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Senate Passes Lankford, Inhofe Bill That Works Towards Taiwan’s Inclusion in WHO

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and  Jim Inhofe (R-OK) today praised the Senate’s unanimous passage of S. 249, which calls for the Secretary of State to develop a strategy for Taiwan to regain observer status in the World Health Organization.

“Taiwan is a stable, democratic US partner in the Asia-Pacific and I’m grateful the Senate unanimously passed legislation to advocate for them to regain its observer status with the World Health Organization,” said Lankford. “US leadership is needed in order to increase international support for this effort, which is why the Administration should advocate for this reinstatement and develop a coherent strategy to ensure our allies do the same. Taiwan is a net contributor to health and humanitarian efforts worldwide, and reinstating their rightful observer status will allow them to promote global health internationally at places like the World Health Assembly. I’m hopeful the Secretary of State will act quickly in the days ahead to develop a strategy for this reinstatement.”

“Since 2016, China has blocked Taiwan from participating in the World Health Organization,” Inhofe said. “That is unacceptable—and as we look at the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, China’s diplomatic bullying is even more egregious. While China failed to warn the public about the pandemic, silenced doctors, rebuffed efforts for an independent inquiry and hoarded medical supplies, Taiwan has been a strong partner in public health. Taiwan has donated countless medical supplies around the world, including the United States, and has been a leader in treatment, research and information sharing.

“Keeping them out of WHO, especially at the request of China, as the world grapples with a global pandemic cannot stand,” Inhofe continued. “I applaud Secretary Pompeo for the steps he’s already taken to ensure Taiwan can attend the WHO Summit on the coronavirus pandemic later this month, and look forward to his strategy that will restore Taiwan’s observer status.”