Sun, Apr 06, 2014 - Page 3 News List

TRADE PACT SIEGE: Senator urges AIT to call for peaceful resolution of protest

POSITIVE CHANGE:US Senator Sherrod Brown urged the AIT to work with Taiwan to prevent the use of violence against non-violent protesters

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in Washington

US Senator Sherrod Brown urged American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Christopher Marut to press the Taiwanese government to commit to a non-violent, peaceful resolution of the ongoing student-led protest in Taipei.

“The US cannot interfere with a sovereign nation’s will to engage in trade agreements,” Brown said in a letter to Marut.

“We can however press upon Taiwan to follow its own democratic principles and resolve political differences peacefully,” Brown added.

Brown, a leading member of the Taiwan Caucus, met this week with Taiwan’s newly appointed representative to the US, Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡), to express concern about possible violence.

“I reminded Ambassador Shen that violence in response to peaceful political protests is anathema to our two great democracies,” Brown said.

He said the US had a long history of peaceful protests leading to positive change.

“And sadly, it also has a darker side of violence against non-violent protesters,” Brown said.

In his letter to Marut, Brown said: “We must work with Taiwan to prevent a similar occurrence.”

“A recent Liberty Times [the Taipei Times’ sister paper] poll showed that Taiwanese overwhelmingly support their government conducting a thorough review of the [cross-strait] services trade treaty,” the letter said.

“It also found a vast majority supporting the ongoing protests against the trade agreement in its current form. Peacefully protesting government is a core fundamental of both US and Taiwanese democracy,” it said.

Brown asked Marut to “pay particular attention” to the student protests and “reiterate with your counterparts” the importance of resolving differences through non-violence.

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