Sun, Feb 21, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Online petition for US recognition of Taiwan falls flat

Staff writer, with CNA

A petition put up on the White House Web site urging the US government to recognize Taiwan as a nation had gathered only about 20,800 signatures as of Thursday, falling short of the threshold required to receive a response from Washington on the issue.

The petition, which was put up on the Web site on Jan. 19, gathered a total of 20,834 signatures in 30 days.

According to the White House, if a petition meets the threshold — 100,000 signatures within 30 days — it would be reviewed and responded to by US President Barack Obama’s administration.

The petition was titled “Reaffirm commitments to Taiwan and work toward recognizing it as an independent and sovereign country.”

It was created by a petitioner from Florida, identified only by the initials, C.S.

The petition said the US should reaffirm its commitment to Taiwan and should stand on the side of democracy, not coercion from China.

“In 1928, the USA was the first government to recognize the Republic of China [ROC]. Now in Taiwan, the government has become a beacon of democracy and freedom in Asia,” the petition said.

It said that following Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) election as Taiwan’s first female president, as well as her party, the Democratic Progressive Party, winning a majority of the seats in the legislature, Taiwan has shown itself to be a free democracy.

However, it said: “China threatens with military exercises, bullies Taiwanese people when they display national pride and bullies the world into believing there can be only ‘one China.’”

The US should therefore work toward recognizing Taiwan as an independent and sovereign nation, it said.

Washington switched recognition from Taiwan to Beijing in 1979. The US policy toward Taiwan has since been based on the three communiques between Washington and Beijing and the Taiwan Relations Act, a law passed in 1979 by the US Congress on the conduct of unofficial ties with Taiwan.

The US petition followed another one that asked the British government and parliament to recognize Taiwan as a nation.

The petition, posted on the British parliament’s Web site, said that due to its “one China” policy, Britain does not recognize the government of the ROC and that all diplomatic relations between the two nations take place on an unofficial basis.

That one passed the threshold of at least 10,000 signatures required to receive a response from the British government.

In its response issued early this month, the British government reiterated its official position of not recognizing Taiwan as a nation, saying that the issue of Taiwan’s status should be resolved through dialogue, based on the wishes of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

The British petition was initiated last month by Lee Chapman, a British national reportedly married to a Taiwanese woman.

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