U.S. congressmen back observer status for Taiwan in Interpol

Two U.S. congressmen voiced their support on Tuesday for Taiwan to participate as an observer in the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), which will hold its 85th general assembly in Bali, Indonesia next month.

Ed Royce, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, released a statement reiterating his support.

"It's time Taiwan be allowed to obtain Interpol observer status," Royce said.

Calling Taiwan a strong friend and critical partner of the United States, Royce described Taiwan's continued exclusion from the important organization as "troubling."

"Global security is needlessly put at risk due to Taiwan's inability to quickly share and receive the latest information about international crime. Everyone's security would be improved by Taiwan's participation in Interpol," the congressman said.

Senator Ben Cardin told CNA by e-mail that he believes "Taiwan's inclusion in appropriate international organizations is important for Taiwan, important for the United States, and important for the entire international community."

"Given the role that Interpol plays in supporting efforts by the global community to fight crime -- including cyber-attacks, organized crime, terrorist financing, and narco-trafficking -- I intend to continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate and in the administration to see how we can ensure appropriate participation for Taiwan in Interpol."

Both the Senate and House of Representatives passed a bill in March requiring the U.S. secretary of state to develop a strategy to obtain observer status for Taiwan in Inperpol. The bill was then signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Cardin was the original co-sponsor of the legislation in the Senate.

Despite the bill, there has been no confirmation that Taiwan will be able to attend the Interpol general assembly from Nov. 7 to 10, though Foreign Minister David Lee said in early October that Taiwan would apply to participate in the near future.

Taiwan was forced to withdraw from Interpol in 1984 when China joined the organization.

The issue of Taiwan taking part in the Interpol conference comes soon after Taiwan was not invited to the 2016 assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) last month due to Beijing's opposition.

China has long suppressed Taiwan's participation in the international community, and that pressure has been ratcheted up since President Tsai Ing-wen took office on May 20 because of her government's refusal to accept a framework that implies Taiwan is part of China.

Repeated opinion polls show a majority of Taiwanese see Taiwan as an independent country.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel