The US should restore diplomatic relations with Taiwan, former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton said yesterday, adding that Beijing would not retaliate.
Bolton made the remarks yesterday in a speech on "US global democracy strategy and cooperation with Taiwan" at the Grand Formosa Regent hotel in Taipei. Bolton is visiting Taiwan at the invitation of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.
Bolton said that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was wrong to personally reject Taiwan's latest application for membership.
The application should have been referred to the UN General Assembly, he said.
Bolton also criticized Ban for saying Taiwan was "an integral part of the People's Republic of China."
"It is really beyond Ban's authority and therefore illegitimate," Bolton said.
Bolton said that Ban's had been elected as UN Secretary-General with strong support from the US and China, adding that Ban's reaction to Taiwan's application was a test of US-Chinese relations in the UN.
"But I was surprised that Ban went China's way," Bolton said.
Bolton suggested the US government react decisively to Ban's action by restoring diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
"It could avoid the cross-strait situation becoming riskier and more dangerous for the US as well as for the people of Taiwan," Bolton said.
He also said UN Resolution 2758 had been adopted illegitimately and did not reflect reality. In addition, the resolution does not define China's territory or mention Taiwan, he said.
Bolton suggested that the controversy surrounding Taiwan's status could be solved by repealing Resolution 2758.
"The Resolution 2758 is badly flawed. If the UN General Assembly can pass Resolution 2758, it can modify or repeal it too," Bolton said.
As for that what name Taiwan should use if it joined the UN, Bolton said that was for the people of Taiwan to decide.
"I think flexibility on the name in the past has served it well," he said.
Bolton said that referendums reflect popular choice, calling Washington inconsistent for objecting to a referendum on Taiwan's application to join the UN after having pressured Taipei to implement democratic reforms.
The US should be ashamed for objecting to a people exercising their democratic rights, he said.
Bolton said the US government should restore its diplomatic relations with Taipei because it would serve US interests and reduce its costs in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Recognition would bring stability and certainty -- thus, actually lower the US' costs," Bolton said.
"It would also strengthen the US and the region by signaling to others the strength of the US' commitment to Taiwan and the region," he said.
Recognizing Taiwan would mean acknowledging reality, the best basis for a sound foreign policy, he said.
Bolton believed that Beijing would not act if Washington officially recognized Taiwan as a country.
Beijing cannot afford to break diplomatic ties with the US or launch a war against it, Bolton said.