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China should not block Taiwan's Interpol bid: interior minister

2018/10/17 16:06:33

Interior Minister Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇, center)

Taipei, Oct. 17 (CNA) Interior Minister Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) reiterated on Wednesday the government's desire to participate in a meaningful way in Interpol by stressing the need for international cooperation in fighting drug smuggling.

Speaking at a legislative committee hearing, Hsu said China has been trying to block Taiwan from joining the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), but he hoped China would reconsider because Taiwan's presence in Interpol can also benefit Beijing.

The Criminal Investigation Bureau sent a letter to Interpol in September asking to participate as an observer in the organization's General Assembly, being held in Dubai from Nov. 16 to 21, but it has yet to receive a response.

Hsu said Taiwan has been working hard to achieve its goal, which has the backing of the United States.

"Now China is the only country standing in the way," he said, and "this greatly affects the world's fight against drugs" because of the importance of international cooperation in cracking down on drug smuggling.

Beijing is unlikely to listen to Hsu's appeal as it has ramped up its suppression of Taiwan in the international community in the past 18 months, including forcing commercial airlines, hotels and other businesses to identify Taiwan on their websites as a part of China.

Also asked about the Interpol application, National Police Agency Director-General Chen Ja-chin (陳家欽) said at the hearing that "we are very determined" to join the international organization.

At home, Hsu said 70 percent of the illegal drugs in Taiwan come from China, and he pledged reinforced efforts by all law-enforcement units and departments as well as Coast Guard and Customs officers to crack down on drug crimes.

There will be "zero tolerance" toward drugs, he said,

Chen, in response to questions on whether a Joint Crime-Fighting and Judicial Mutual Assistance Agreement Taiwan and China signed in 2009 was still in force, told lawmakers there is still interaction on individual cases under that platform but fewer than before.

The two sides have worked together primarily on cracking fraud rings that infringe on people's property in Taiwan and China and investigating drug crimes, Chen said.

Under the 2009 accord, the two sides agreed to exchange information on criminal activity and help the other side in making arrests and deporting criminal suspects.

Dialogue between the two sides stopped, however, because of Beijing's discontent with Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) cross-strait policy after Tsai, of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, was elected president in 2016.

(By Claudia Liu and Elizabeth Hsu)
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