The terrorist attacks in Paris are reverberating around the world. At the closing ceremony of the APEC summit on Wednesday last week, all APEC leaders vowed to fight against terrorism by facilitating more international cooperation. However, because of China’s perpetual attempts to isolate Taiwan, the country has been marginalized from the international security regimes. Without Taiwan’s participation, there is a major blind spot in international cooperation in this area.
According to a report published in January by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a well-known think tank in the US, Taiwan’s absence from international counterterrorism regimes would diminish the effectiveness of the initiatives and pose risks to other countries. Moreover, Taiwan is an important international transportation hub and economic center; its exclusion constitutes a significant loss for the international community.
For example, millions of people visit or pass through Taiwan every year. However, Taiwan does not have full capacity to discover and act over suspicious people and international criminals since it does not have access to the Interpol database, which provides a continually updated list of such people.
That being so, Taiwan can only build its own database by collecting information from other friendly countries, meaning such information is often late and incomplete. Meanwhile, Taiwan cannot share its information with the family of nations through this channel. This makes Taiwan a blind spot in international counterterrorism initiatives and poses risks both in Taiwan and across the globe.
In addition, as an international economic hub, Taiwan needs to work with international organizations to combat the financing of terrorist organizations and money laundering. Taiwan has participated in two regional organizations — the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering and the Egmont Group — and has played an active and important role in regional cooperation therein. However, Taiwan has been excluded from the Financial Action Task Force, which is the most important international body on this issue, and hence it can only acquire information through its foreign counterparts.
At the international level, the UN has established a complex and multi-layer structure to strengthen the coordination and coherence of counterterrorism. The UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force plays a coordinating role; it hosts several working groups that seek to bring together stakeholders and partners and provide most up-to-date information on these issues. However, Taiwan’s lack of membership in the UN impedes it from accessing these resources.
At the regional level, organizations like APEC have established a few counterterrorism mechanisms as well. In response to the events of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the US, APEC established the APEC Counterterrorism Task Force to enhance counterterrorism cooperation. However, although Taiwan is a long-standing APEC member, its participation in these mechanisms has also been blocked by China.
Members of the international community have become aware that international security cannot be fully achieved without Taiwan’s participation. For instance, the US just passed legislation to promote Taiwan as an observer in Interpol.
However, if the international community wants to enhance safety and security in the region, its needs to move forthwith toward acceptance of Taiwan in international organizations, and particularly those that deal with safety and security.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
Chen Po-wen is a student at the London School of Economics and Political Science’s Center for the Study of Human Rights.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday last week, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Hsu Chiao-hsin (徐巧芯) wrote: “The KMT must fall for Taiwan to improve.’ Allow me to ask the question again: Is this really true?” It matters not how many times Hsu asks the question, my answer will always be the same: “Yes, the KMT must be toppled for Taiwan to improve.” In the lengthy Facebook post, titled “What were those born in the 1980s guilty of?” Hsu harked back to the idealistic aspirations of the 2014 Sunflower movement before heaping opprobrium on the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP)
The scuffle between Chinese embassy staffers in Fiji and a Taiwanese diplomat at a Republic of China (ROC) Double Ten National Day celebration has turned into a public relations opportunity for the government, Beijing and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Although the incident occurred on Oct. 8, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) downplayed it, only for the story to be picked up by the foreign media, forcing the ministry to respond. The public and opposition parties asked why the government had failed to remonstrate more strongly in the first instance. It is still unclear whether the ministry missed a trick
US President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, former US vice president Joe Biden, are holding their final debate tonight. In their foreign policy debate, China is sure to be a major issue of contention for the two candidates. Here are several questions the moderator should pose to the candidates: For both: In the first televised US presidential debates in 1960, then-Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy and his Republican counterpart, Richard Nixon, were asked whether the US should intervene if communist China attacked Taiwan’s outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu. Kennedy said no, unless the main island of Taiwan was also attacked.
For most of us, the colorful, otherworldly marinescapes of coral reefs are as remote as the alien landscapes of the moon. We rarely, if ever, experience these underwater wonderlands for ourselves — we are, after all, air-breathing, terrestrial creatures mostly cocooned in cities. It is easy not to notice the perilous state they are in: We have lost 50 percent of coral reefs in the past 20 years and more than 90 percent are expected to die by 2050, a presentation at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Diego, California, earlier this year showed. As the oceans heat further and