Thu, Jan 12, 2012 - Page 3 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: US congressman expresses concern over US neutrality

By William Lowther  /  Staff Reporter in Washington

A fifth member of the US Congress has written to US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressing fears that Washington has failed to “stay neutral” in the run-up to Taiwan’s elections.

US Representative Bill Johnson said that while he was aware of the US Department of State’s assurances that it was not taking sides, “I still have reservations.”

A member of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, Johnson is the latest of a growing bipartisan group to express concern.

“Taiwan’s recent inclusion as a candidate for the US Visa Waiver Program, the large number of pre-election visits to Taiwan by high-level administration officials and most recently the statement released by the Taiwanese National Security Council on its meeting with the American Institute in Taiwan give me pause,” he said in the letter.

“Whether intended or not, the timing of these gestures give the impression that the US continues to support the current government of Taiwan and its non-confrontational policy towards China,” he said.

Johnson also asked Clinton to “keep a close eye” on developments in Taiwan this week and “during the weeks thereafter.”

“The true mark of a mature democracy is its ability to carry out a peaceful transfer of power in the event of a victory by the opposition,” he wrote.

Washington-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs president Mark Kao (高龍榮) said that given the “closeness of the latest polls, it is absolutely imperative that no party, including the US, exercises unwarranted influence on the free and fair election process.”

“These letters represent continuing concerns in Congress that the Obama administration is less than neutral and continuing concerns about potential challenges to the peaceful transfer of power in the case of a win by opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文),” Kao said.

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