The bill passed with unanimous support and is expected to be signed into law by US President Joe Biden.
The US House of Representatives unanimously passed a law urging the State Department to come up with a plan to help Taiwan regain its observer status at the World Health Organization (WHO) in a rare show of cooperation. bipartisan
The House approved the bill 425-0 on Wednesday, after it was approved by the Senate last August. It will now go to the White House, where President Joe Biden is expected to sign the measure into law.
Taiwan is excluded from most global organizations like the WHO, the United Nations health agency, due to the objections of Beijing, which considers the island part of its territory and not a separate country.
The measure instructs the secretary of state to establish a strategy to obtain observer status in the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO.
Taiwan was stripped of that status in 2017 after Tsai Ing-wen was elected president.
Beijing views Tsai as a separatist and has increased pressure on the island since she took office, seeking to limit Taipei’s participation not only in the WHO but in other non-political organizations such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The number of countries Taiwan has maintained formal diplomatic relations with has also shrunk since Tsai became president, with only 15 states currently recognizing Taipei over Beijing.
Calling for support for the bill, Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly praised the response to the COVID-19 pandemicnoting that it only had 37,000 confirmed cases despite a population of 23.5 million, and that it shared expertise and donated protective equipment internationally.
“Taiwan’s leadership and contribution to global health security demonstrate why it should be part of the larger public health conversation,” he said.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry expressed appreciation for the support from the United States, saying the government continues to make efforts to be able to participate this year.
China has already indicated that it will not support Taiwan’s participation in this year’s assembly.
Taiwan ran a tough campaign for an observer seat at the 2021 assembly, but was unsuccessful.