Petition solicits support for Australian recognition of Taiwan

10/28/2019 05:57 PM
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Taipei, Oct. 28 (CNA) A petition submitted to the Australian House of Representatives is gathering signatures to urge the Australian government to establish formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Petition EN1120 was submitted by a Mr. Gavan Duffy to the Australian Parliament's e-petition website, where it had collected more than 6,400 signatures as of Monday afternoon.

One must be a citizen or resident of Australia to be eligible to sign the petition.

Though Australia "does not currently maintain formal diplomatic relations" with the "Republic of China" (Taiwan's formal name), the two countries have de-facto embassies and the Republic of China (R.O.C) is a "substantial trading partner of Australia," the petition says.

The petition describes the R.O.C. as "a beacon for democracy and the rule of law in the East Asian region," where it has an important role in defense and security.

Therefore, it is "right and just" that the R.O.C. "be accorded full diplomatic recognition by all democracies and freedom loving nations," the petition says.

The online petition will close on Nov. 20 and then be presented by the Petitions Committee -- or a certain member of parliament if Duffy so requests -- to the House of Representatives.

The minister who is responsible for the subject area raised by the petition will then send a response to the House of Representatives and the creator of the petition.

Unlike in Germany and the U.S., where two similar petitions were launched earlier this year, there is no threshold of signatures the petition has to reach for the issue to be debated or replied to in Australia.

On Sept. 11, German Michael Kreuzberg launched a petition to ask his government to establish diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Within a month, the petition had garnered nearly 56,000 signatures, pushing it well past the threshold of 50,000 signatures required for it to be debated in parliament.

A similar petition, which urged the U.S. government to recognize Taiwan as an independent country, was submitted to a White House petition network on Oct. 7. It surpassed the 100,000 signatures needed for the White House to issue a response within a week.

None of the petitions are expected to affect the foreign policies in Germany, the U.S., and Australia, which all recognize the People's Republic of China and maintain informal relations with Taiwan.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chiang Yi-ching)

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