Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton yesterday said that Taiwan has an expanded role to play in the international community as well as in the US’ strategic pivot to Asia.
Taiwan getting full membership in the UN and having an expanded role in the international community would be “in the US’ interests,” said Bolton, who is leading a delegation of the American Enterprise Institute think tank on a visit to Taiwan.
He made the comments during the delegation’s meeting with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday.
Bolton said he has always believed that Taiwan, as a fully functioning state, with a large economy and an important role in regional democracy, should enjoy full membership at the UN and its affiliated bodies, but China has blocked all of Taiwan’s efforts to join any of these international agencies.
It would be up to Taiwanese themselves to decide which agency they want to join, when and at which pace, he said, adding that “the US should prepare to support” Taiwan’s effort.
Bolton said that with more international clout, Taiwan would be able to play a role in several unfolding issues that greatly concern the US, such as China’s assertion of its territorial claims in the East China Sea and South China Sea, and displaying military force against claimants in the region — which include Taiwan.
“Taiwan has a role to play there,” he said without elaborating.
In other areas of US-Taiwan relations, he said, both sides should promote broader economic cooperation.
Su said Bolton’s views on Taiwan and its international participation matched the DPP’s long-standing positions.
The newly elected chairman raised the issues of the party’s much-discussed China policy, saying that the DPP’s unwavering position on Taiwan’s sovereignty is correct, but it would have to change its “mentality and approach” toward engaging with Beijing.
The change would not be made purely for domestic considerations, Su said, adding that the situation in the Asia-Pacific region as well as political and economic developments in China should also be included in the DPP’s deliberations.