TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A total of 71 U.S. congressmen from both major political parties earlier this month signed a letter calling on Taiwan to participate in the coming General Assembly meeting for the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).
The 89th Interpol General Assembly is slated to be held in Istanbul, Turkey from Nov. 23-25. U.S. Representative John Curtis on Nov. 9, led 70 fellow congressmen in signing a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Director of Interpol Washington Michael Hughes, that called for Taiwan's participation as an observer.
Among the 71 members of the House of Representatives who signed the letter were Michael McCaul, ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Steve Chabot, ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation; and Elise Stefanik, No. 3 House Republican.
In the letter, the congressmen wrote that Taiwan’s exclusion from Interpol has created a void in the global fight against crime. As it is not a member state, Taiwan cannot access the Interpol global police communication system and is forced to obtain second-hand information from friendly countries such as the U.S.
The lawmakers alleged that "malign actors" such as China and Belarus have exploited Interpol's "red notices" system to harass dissidents or people they think threaten their regime. Since the Taiwan government and its people must continue to fight against harassment from China, the congressmen said the risk of mistreatment of Taiwanese via this system has increased.
They argued that by allowing Taiwan to take part in Interpol, it could collaborate with the U.S. and other allies in "rooting out corruption and abuse of the Interpol system." The authors of the letter called for Taiwan to be afforded observer status and allowed to participate in related meetings, activities, and mechanisms under the organization to help fight "terrorism, organized crimes, and cybercrime."
The congressmen closed by recommending the road to full membership in the organization could start with the establishment of a "cooperation agreement" between Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) and Interpol that would enable Taiwan to "observe, participate in, and access Interpol's meetings and information systems."