The US government on Wednesday praised Taiwan for its role in the global fight against terrorism, especially for its role in disrupting the flow of money that finances international terrorist activities.
At the same time, Washington faulted China with impeding the world battle against terrorist financing because of its refusal to join an important international anti-terrorist group because Taiwan is a member.
In the 2007 edition of its annual Country Reports on Terrorism, the US State Department said that Taiwan adhered to all UN resolutions and protocols on terrorism despite not being a UN member and consequently not being bound by those resolutions.
Last year, “Taiwan sought to implement, to the maximum extent possible, all UN resolutions relating to combating terrorism and terrorist finance issues,” the report said, adding that “Taiwan continued to provide rapid and thorough responses on terrorism financing issues to the American Institute in Taiwan.”
The report also cited the Executive Yuan’s submission to the Legislative Yuan last year of an anti-terrorist action law.
The bill would empower the Financial Supervisory Commission to seize assets of entities involved in terrorist activities and impose a package of trade, travel and financial sanctions against North Korea, in response to a UN resolution.
These items were still under review by the Legislative Yuan at the end of last year, the report said.
In addition, the report looked favorably on several large-scale training exercises conducted last year by the Cabinet-level Counterterrorism Office.
Most recently, it said, the office conducted an exercise in Kaohsiung in preparation for the 2009 World Games. In addition to an anti-terrorism focus, the exercises also include crisis management, disaster preparedness and nationwide civilian military mobilization.
The report also cited ongoing efforts to protect Taiwan’s critical infrastructure, to insure that government operations are maintained in case of an attack or disaster.
The report was critical of Beijing’s refusal to join the Egmont Group, an umbrella body that coordinates the activities of more than 100 national Financial Intelligent Units (FIUs) worldwide.
“China applied for membership in the Egmont Group, but domestic political concerns about Taiwan’s participation in the organization have reportedly hampered membership discussions,” the report said.
While China’s FIU works closely with its US counterpart to develop its capabilities and exchanges information with other FIUs on a case-by-case basis, “coordination in this area could be enhanced through membership in the Egmont Group,” the report says.
Furthermore, while China has laws on terrorist financing that give the government the authority to identify, freeze and seize terrorist financial assets, “laws defining terrorist financing were not yet consistent with international standards,” according to reporting by the Financial Action Task Force, the world’s main anti-money laundering cooperative organization, the US report said.