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U.S. senators introduce Taiwan International Participation Act

2018/05/26 13:30:20

U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey and Cory Gardner

Washington, May 25 (CNA) Two U.S. senators on Friday jointly introduced legislation that establishes it is America's policy to support Taiwan's participation in appropriate international organizations.

The Taiwan International Participation Act of 2018 was initiated by Republican Cory Gardner and Democrat Edward J. Markey, chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity.

It instructs American representatives in international organizations to use the voice and vote of the United States to support Taiwan's inclusion, along with directing the president or his designated representative to raise Taiwan's participation, in appropriate international organizations in all bilateral engagements with China, according to a statement released by Gardner.

The bill is in response to unprecedented pressure imposed by China on international organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), to exclude Taiwan, Gardner said.

"The United States has an obligation to do everything it can to strengthen Taiwan's international standing," he said. "This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that major international organizations do not turn a blind eye to our ally Taiwan simply because of China's bullying tactics."

Markey, meanwhile, noted that Taiwan has long been an active and productive contributor in international organizations that do not require statehood.

"Taiwan's participation should continue, as we have a broader responsibility to our allies and partners to ensure coercion does not become the norm in the Indo-Pacific and beyond," he added.

The legislation comes at a time when Taiwan has been excluded from the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the WHO that is currently meeting in Geneva, for the second consecutive year.

Taiwan had hoped to attend the annual WHA as an observer, as it did from 2009 to 2016, but did not receive an invitation from the WHO because of opposition from China, which has been stepping up its efforts to reduce Taiwan's participation in international events since President Tsai Ing-wen from a pro-independence party came into office in May 2016.

Under the previous administration of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Taiwan was invited to participate in the WHA, with no objections from China.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Y.F. Low)