U.S. values Taiwan’s international contribution: official

Washington values Taiwan's ability to participate in international affairs, particularly in international organizations for which statehood is not a prerequisite, and believes Taiwan has a lot to offer the international community, a senior U.S. State Department official said Tuesday.

Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, made the comment in a Congressional hearing on the U.S.-South Korea-Japan trilateral relationship, when asked by Congressman Steven Chabot whether the United States should include Taiwan in any discussions of the region's security architecture.

"I'm a big fan of Taiwan," Russel said. "Taiwan is a tremendous friend to the United States, and a very important democracy in the Asia Pacific, and a great model for others."

He said Taiwan is "a significant contributor to not only the economic wellbeing of the region, but also to safety, security, the humanitarian relief. We admire and value Taiwan's contributions."

The U.S. policy and approach to Taiwan is rooted in its one- China policy, as informed by the three communiques between the United States and China and the Taiwan Relations Act, Russel said.

"We look for, and I personally engage on a regular basis, to create opportunities for serious consultation and cooperation with the national security representatives from Taiwan," he said.

Meanwhile, Chabot said he thought Taiwan is being left out of many organizations in which it should be involved.

This is because of bullying by the People's Republic of China, which still considers Taiwan a breakaway province, he said

Chabot said there seems to be a renewed movement on Capitol Hill for Taiwan to be allowed to join the United Nations.

It is embarrassing that Taiwan has to participate in the Olympics under the title "Chinese Taipei," and Taiwan's president, vice president, defense minister, foreign minister and other top officials cannot visit Washington D.C., Chabot said, advocating a change in that situation.

In response, Russel said Taiwan's security, democratic system, economic autonomy are higher priorities for him and the U.S. than the issue of nomenclature. The U.S. is bound by and is faithful to its one-China policy, which has been observed by eight successive U.S. administrations, but it can consult, support and accord due respect and dignity to Taiwan, he said.

In related news, 16 of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, including Palau and Paraguay, on Wednesday petitioned U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, either jointly or individually, to allow Taiwan to participate in U.N. specialized agencies and the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel