US Congress Passes Bill for Taiwan to Join Interpol as an Observer

US Congress Passes Bill for Taiwan to Join Interpol as an Observer
Photo Credit:regan76 @Flickr CC BY SA 2.0

Translated and compiled by Shin-wei Chang

On March 8, the US Senate approved the bill supporting Taiwan in joining the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) as an observer. On March 15, the US House of Representative unanimously passed the bill, completing the last stage of making it legislation with 381 supporting votes.

The bill was introduced last April and has gained full support of the US Congress within a year. It will officially become a legislative law after President Obama signs it.

As an observer, Taiwan will have the right to speak during the General Assembly plenary sessions. However, when the President of Interpol considers the discussion topic irrelevant to Taiwan, s/he has the right to ask Taiwan to leave the conference hall.

Moreover, Taiwan will not be able to raise points of order, put procedural motions, appeal against decisions of the President or submit proposals in the General Assembly.

To be accepted as a full membership, it takes a two-thirds of majority of the General Assembly to consent.

Full support of the US Congress

Ed Royce, chairman for the Foreign Affairs Committee, says Taiwan will be able to know the latest information of criminal activities by joining Interpol, and “that helps everyone’s security.” Royce added, “I urge President Obama to sign it as soon as possible.”

Voice of America reports, Rep. Chris Smith, who sponsored the bill, also pointed out the danger for Taiwan unable to obtain first-hand criminal intelligence saying that it makes the island vulnerable to security threats. Smith also says, “Taiwan’s participation will benefit Interpol’s reform.”

Senator Cory Gardner introduced this bill, and Senator Ben Cardin was the co-sponsor. In addition, Ros-Lehtinen, former chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, not only voted, but also signed a petition supporting Taiwan rejoining Interpol.

New benchmark of Taiwan-US relations

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US says the bill indicates US’ consistent position of supporting Taiwan to participate in international organizations. The office also expressed its appreciation for all of the congresspersons that support the bill.

On March 8, when the Senate passed the bill, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan released a statement saying, “Taiwan-US relations are at their best state in 37 years.”

Edited by Olivia Yang

Storm Media Group
Foreign Affairs Committee
UDN News
The US Congress
“Taiwan Interpol observer bid bill passed by US Senate” (Taiwan Today)
“Taiwan thanks the U.S. Congress for Interpol bid support” (Focus Taiwan)
“US House passes Bill Backing Taiwan’s Participation in Interpol” (The Voice of America)
“Taiwan in the World Health Assembly: A Victory, With Limits” (The Brookings)