In a significant development, the U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed legislation calling on the State Department to submit a plan to help Taiwan regain its observer status at the World Health Organization.
The House of Representatives passed the bill 425 to 0, sending it to the White House. The bill has already been passed by the Senate in August. Congressional aides said they expected President Joe Biden to sign the measure into law.
Taiwan is not represented in most global bodies, including the UH health agency, the WHO, because of objections raised by China, which considers the democratic island nation as its province and not as a separate country.
The measure directs the Secretary of State to establish a strategy for obtaining observer status at the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO.
Taiwan was stripped of that status in 2017.
“Taiwan’s leadership and contribution to global health security demonstrate why it ought to be part of the general conversation on public health,” said Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry expressed its thanks for the support, saying the government was continuing efforts to be able to take part this year.
Meanwhile China has signalled that it will not support Taiwan’s participation at this year’s assembly.