US supports Taiwan’s participation in WHO, passes bill

Taipei [Taiwan]: The US senate-house on Friday passed a bill to strengthen support for Taiwan to participate in the World Health Organization (WHO).
The bill states that the COVID-19 pandemic transcends all borders and that Taiwan should not be excluded from the global health body and calls on the U.S. government to formulate strategies to assist the East Asian nation to regain WHO observer status, Taiwan News reported. “Taiwan is an important partner to the United States, and it is critical that the administration improve its strategy to help Taiwan obtain observer status,” Jim Risch, a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee told UK media.
Taiwan observer has contributed more than USD 6 billion in international medical and humanitarian aid efforts to over 80 countries since 1996 and the country donated millions of pieces of personal protective equipment and testing reagents during the COVID-19 crises, the bill said.
Taiwan’s efforts to join WHO begin in 1997 and with US support, the country had participated in World Health Assembly as an observer from 2009-2017 against Beijing’s pressure.
Amid heightened tensions in the Taiwan strait and increasing Chinese incursions in Taiwan’s air defence zone, the Biden administration announced it has approved a possible USD 750 million weapon sale to Taiwan.
The potential deal includes “40 self-propelled howitzer artillery systems and related equipment, and serves “U.S. national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency under the Defense Department said in a news release.
But Beijing has expressed strong opposition to the US decision to Taiwan and lodged solemn representations with the US side.

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