US representatives voice support for Taiwan's participation in Interpol

47 members of Congress urge US government to obtain observer status for Taiwan at Interpol

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The 87th Interpol General Assembly is held in Dubai in November 2018 (Source: Interpol)

The 87th Interpol General Assembly is held in Dubai in November 2018 (Source: Interpol)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A total of 47 U.S. representatives have expressed their support for Taiwan’s participation in Interpol, an intergovernmental police organization in which Taiwan is not a member.

“Taiwan is unable to swiftly share information on criminals and suspicious activity with the international community, leaving a huge void in global crime-fighting efforts and leaving the entire world at higher risk,” said the bipartisan group on Sept. 12 in a letter addressing U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The group urged the Trump administration to devise a strategy that would enable Taiwan to gain observer status at Interpol’s general assembly.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said via a statement on Tuesday (Sept. 17) that it is grateful for Congress’ longstanding bipartisan support to ensure Taiwan’s participation in international organizations. The letter from the House of Representatives was introduced by John Curtis and signed by Mike McCaul (R-TX), Brad Sherman (D-CA), James McGovern (D-MA), and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), among others.

The 88th Interpol General Assembly will be held in Chile from Oct. 15 to 18. Earlier reports suggested that the Interpol's governing body had declined to invite Taiwan to the annual event, a decision criticized by MOFA as bowing to pressure from Beijing.

Taiwan is not part of China, said then MOFA Spokesperson Andrew Lee, adding that China has no right to represent the island country on the international stage. Taiwan has had difficulty taking part in international organizations as an observer in recent years, particularly after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took office in 2016.

The Taiwanese authorities generally attribute the exclusion of Taiwan from international bodies to Beijing’s campaign to isolate the island country. China has poached six allies from Taiwan in three years, including the Solomon Islands on Monday (Sept. 16), reducing the number of nations that formally recognize Taiwan to 16.

Established in 1923, Interpol is the world’s largest police organization and has 194 member countries. Taiwan was a member of Interpol under the designation Republic of China until 1984, when the People's Republic of China was admitted into the organization.