Episode 1: Taiwan and the WHO
April 21, 2020
Can Taiwan regain a seat at the World Health Organization.
Taiwan’s success battling Covid-19 and China’s cover up have boosted international support for Taiwan’s bid for, at the least, observer status at the next meeting of the WHO General Assembly on May 20th.
Host Nicholas Gould interviews US de facto ambassador, AIT Director, William Brent Christenesen; Foundation Medical Professional Alliance Taiwan CEO, Lin Shih-jia; Senior Counsel, Pontis Law and Global Health Scholar, Georgetown University Law Center, Liu Han Hsi.
Several events are unfolded simultaneously to bring international attention to Taiwan’s case. President Trump stopped US payments to the WHO while Washington investigates possible wrongdoing on the part of WHO Director General Tedros Adhoman Gherbreyesus, suspected of helping China cover up the severity of the virus outbreak in Wuhan and delaying the response of the WHO.
The success Taiwan had with its quick response to preventing the virus taking hold in Taiwan has won it praise from political leaders and major media editorials on an unprecedented scale lifting its international profile.
On March 16th President Trump signed into law the TAIPEI Act which requires Washington to support Taiwan’s diplomatic alliances. The next day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged US support for Taiwan’s participation in the WHO.
Leading up the May 20th assembly both China and Taiwan are engaged in “face-mask” diplomacy as each is making donations of much needed medical equipment.
Included as a bonus is the song WHO by the Taiwan rap artist Dwagei.
Mr. William Brent Christensen, the new Director of the American Institute in Taiwan’s Taipei office, arrived in Taipei on August 11, 2018. He is very happy to be back in Taiwan, and looks forward to continuing to develop the many areas of U.S.-Taiwan cooperation.
Mr. Christensen has been in the United States Foreign Service for more than 29 years and has extensive experience in senior positions related to Taiwan and China. Mr. Christensen previously served as Deputy Director of the American Institute in Taiwan’s Taipei office. Prior to that, he was Director of the State Department’s Office of Taiwan Coordination, where he had a primary role in formulating U.S. policy toward Taiwan. He has served three assignments at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, the most recent being Environment, Science, Technology and Health Counselor.
Mr. Christensen has also served as a Senior Level Career Development Advisor in the State Department’s Human Resources Bureau. Prior to that assignment, he served as the Foreign Policy Advisor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS). Other overseas postings include Hong Kong and South Africa. Mr. Christensen also served as a Congressional Fellow on the staff of Senator Olympia Snowe. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he was a captain in the U.S. Air Force.
Mr. Christensen is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and holds the personal rank of Minister-Counselor. Mr. Christensen earned an M.A. in East Asian Studies from the George Washington University, a B.A. in Chinese language and literature from Brigham Young University, and a Doctor of Medical Dentistry degree from the Oregon Health and Sciences University. Mr. Christensen is married to Brenda Barrus Christensen and has three children. He is a native of Provo, Utah.
Shih-Chia LIN is the executive director of Foundation of Medical Professional Alliance in Taiwan and a well-know legislator in the eighth Legislative Yuan. Ms. Lin also served the Peng Wan-Ru Foundation as chairman until 2016 and has continually contributed to promoting Taiwan’s public health policy as well as Taiwan’s democracy movement. Since 1996, she has been dedicating to promoting Taiwan’s participation in World Health Organization (WHO). Each year, in order to raise global awareness of Taiwan’s right and voice for WHO, she makes her effort by hosting campaigns to call for international support from Taiwan’s alliance, spreading our advocacy to join WHO as an official member as well as calling on the local representatives and lobbying parliamentarians. Ms. Lin leads several research projects including promoting Taiwan’s participation in WHO and APEC Health Working Group, introducing international health institutions and health technology policies of EU, drafting regenerative medicine related regulation for Taiwan as well as evaluating the impact of TPP for medical care. In the future, she will dedicate herself to continually promoting Taiwan’s participation in WHO, upgrading the biotechnology environment for Taiwan as well as forming Taiwan’s health and welfare strategies.
Liu “Indy” Han Hsi is Senior Counsel at Pontis Law specializing in healthcare, bioethics and intellectual property issues. He has published and presented papers on health issues ranging from access to health care, to patience privacy and data protection. He is currently pursuing PhD degrees in both Law and Public Health from Yang Ming Medical University and Georgetown University Law Center respectively. His overseas exposure as a compliance specialist in Seattle hospitals gave him solid experience working on practical legal issues faced by the medical industry.