US congressmen push Bolton on UN bid

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA IN WASHINGTON

Sun, Sep 10, 2006 - Page 3

Several US Congressmen led by Republican Representative Tom Tancredo on Friday urged the US ambassador to the UN to support Taiwan's bid for UN membership.

The call was made in a letter addressed to Ambassador John Bolton ahead of the opening of the 61st session of the UN General Assembly.

It was co-signed by Tancredo and three of his colleagues -- Republicans Steve Chabot and Dana Rohrabacher and Democrat Robert Andrews.

They said that the so-called "one China" policy was a relic of a time that had long passed.

"Taiwan is no longer ruled by an autocratic dictator claiming to rule all of China. It is an independent nation which controls its own borders, dictates its own foreign policies, maintains its own armed forces, manages its own economy, and most importantly -- elects its own leaders," they said in the letter.

"It is, by all measures, a sovereign country -- and it should be treated as such," they added.

They said Taiwan was a stable, democratic presence in Asia that has long demonstrated a commitment to international cooperation.

Although not a UN member, Taiwan has heeded calls by the UN for emergency relief and assistance to countries that suffer disasters and wars, they said.

For example, Taiwan has offered aid for refugees in Kosovo, assisted with reconstruction in Afghanistan, provided food and supplies to Iraq, supported anti-AIDS efforts in Africa and helped victims of disasters in El Salvador, Turkey and Nicaragua and even New York in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, they said.

While the notion that Taiwanese are effectively represented in the UN by communist China might be politically convenient, no reasonable person in his right mind would accept this preposterous contention, they said.

Noting that Bolton had expressed outspoken support for Taiwan's full UN membership in the 1990s, the lawmakers urged the ambassador not to cave in to "Beijing's relentless and irrational pressure."

"It is time we stood by our democratic principles and supported Taiwan's effort to gain membership in this world body," they said.