Marginalizing Taiwan harms global security: report

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in Washington

Sun, Mar 01, 2015 - Page 1

Taiwan’s exclusion from international security groups has created “blind spots” for terrorists and criminals to exploit, a report from the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) says.

The report blames China for preventing Taiwan from joining or even participating in organizations that might increase the nation’s “international space.”

The report, Taiwan’s Marginalized Role in International Security, is by CSIS senior adviser for Asia Bonnie Glaser and research associate Jacqueline Vitello.

It recommends that Taiwan be granted access to resources including Interpol’s criminal list, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Incident and Trafficking Database and the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) secure database, adding that the nation should be allowed to enter the Financial Action Task Force and to join disaster relief organizations.

“To ensure that Taiwan remains up to date on international safety standards, procedures, and best practices, the island should be allowed enhanced participation in organizations such as the International Maritime Organization, ICAO and the International Physical Protection Advisory Service,” it says.

In addition, it says Taiwan should be able to participate in international military exercises led by the US, including the Rim of the Pacific and Cyber Storm.

The US could appeal to other nations to back Taiwan’s membership in international organizations where possible and its enhanced participation in other cases, the report says, adding that Washington could raise the security risks of marginalizing Taiwan from international security collaboration with senior Chinese officials.

“Despite possessing both the means and the desire to serve as a responsible stakeholder, Taiwan can neither benefit from most international security bodies nor share its considerable reservoir of knowledge and expertise for the common good,” the report says.

The document examines eight areas that it says would benefit from Taiwan’s inclusion, including counterterrorism, law enforcement, human security and cybersecurity.

“Beijing views Taiwan as part of its sovereign territory and thus seeks to prevent Taiwan from joining or even participating in organizations that require statehood — and many that do not,” the report says.

It says that China fears that Taiwan could leverage its presence in international organizations to achieve independence.

However, marginalizing Taiwan from the international community comes at a cost for the rest of the world, the report says.

“By not including Taiwan in the international regimes and organizations that seek to deter and combat global threats such as terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons, the world is left with gaps in the comprehensive fight for enhanced security,” it says.

“Ways must be found for the people of Taiwan to be better protected and to contribute their well-developed knowledge, skills and resources to international security endeavors,” the report says.

It concludes that Beijing’s obstruction of Taiwan’s participation harms Chinese interests.

“China faces growing threats to its security — threats that require more effective global cooperation,” it says. “Terrorism is an inherently international threat, and the exclusion of competent and willing parties like Taiwan creates dangerous gaps in the fight against it.”