Civic group calls on John Kerry to pressure Beijing

RENOUNCING FORCE::The group urged Kerry to insist that the Chinese leadership order the dismantling of weapons directed at Taiwan

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

Wed, Apr 10, 2013 - Page 1

As US Secretary of State John Kerry prepares for a visit to China this weekend, Taiwanese activists have urged him to press Beijing for a better deal for Taipei.

They are asking him to be “proactive and creative” in US support for Taiwan.

Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) president Mark Kao (高龍榮) in a letter also asked Kerry to abandon Washington’s “outdated ‘one China’” policy.

The policy has left Taiwan “dangling in an increasingly isolated international position,” he said.

Kao “implored” the US secretary of state to adopt a “one China, one Taiwan” policy that emphasized that Taiwanese have the right to determine their own future.

The US Department of State did not comment on the letter on Monday, but a source confirmed that Taiwan was likely to be raised during Kerry’s talks with the Chinese leadership.

Currently in the Middle East, Kerry is set to be in Beijing on Saturday and Sunday and is also due to visit Japan and South Korea.

This will be his first visit to Asia as secretary of state.

North Korea and concerns that Pyongyang is preparing for a fourth nuclear test and a missile launch are expected to top Kerry’s agenda.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei (洪磊) said on Monday that the two sides would exchange views on China-US relations and international and regional issues of “common interest.”

Kao said he understood that in order to resolve many of the world’s major problems, the US needed to engage China.

“But the experience of previous US governments under presidents Nixon, Carter, Clinton and Bush shows that all too often this was done at the expense of freedom and democracy for Taiwan,” Kao said.

He appealed for Kerry to insist during negotiations with Chinese leaders that Beijing renounce the use of military force against Taiwan and that offensive weapons directed at Taiwan be dismantled.

Only then could Taiwan make a “free and fully democratic decision” on its future.

Kao also said that Taiwan could make “significant contributions” to multinational organizations, such as the UN and the WHO.

“Recent reports about the re-emergence of the H7N9 virus in China illustrate the necessity that Taiwan be given full membership in the latter organization,” he said.

“Infectious diseases know no boundaries and Taiwan’s exclusion from these important bodies not only deprives the world of the benefit of Taiwan’s considerable expertise, but also creates a gap in the global public health system with potentially dangerous consequences,” Kao said.