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- As Delivered - 


WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today delivered the following remarks in the House of Representatives supporting H.R. 1853, which would direct to the President to develop a strategy to obtain observer status for Taiwan in the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL):


“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this measure and I yield myself as much time as I may consume.


“Thank you. I want to also thank Mr. Salmon from Arizona, who chairs our Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, for authoring this bill. I’m proud to be a cosponsor.


“The International Criminal Policy Organization, what we call INTERPOL, helps law enforcement agencies around the world collaborate with one another.  Thanks to INTERPOL, a task force in New York can share information with a police agency in Hamburg or flag a terrorist suspect for authorities in Tokyo. Sensitive information about criminals or missing persons is available at the push of a button for INTERPOL’s members, and for decades it’s been a vital tool for global security.


“Until 1984, Taiwan was a member of INTERPOL.  But since the People’s Republic of China applied for membership, Taiwan has been left out. This is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Taiwan has the 16th or 17th-largest economy in the world, and anyone who’s ever been to Taiwan, as I have, as my colleague has, will just be amazed at the democracy they have built themselves on that tiny island. And the fact that they look toward the United States for protecting them and helping them, because just like we share the same values with Israel, we share the same values with Taiwan, and that’s why we work with them.


“So Taiwan’s been left out. And this gap in INTERPOL’s membership creates a public safety risk for the people of Taiwan, and also for the rest of the world. So nobody is saying that China should not be a member. But China should not have the right to exclude Taiwan.


“So this legislation would close that gap.  It would instruct the Administration to push for Taiwan to be granted observer status in INTERPOL. Observer status, that’s what we’re asking for. There are countries around the world that function as countries, that have everything that all other countries have. And yet because of politics, they’re excluded from these international organizations. Taiwan is one such a country. Kosovo is another type of country. And we have to stop this. People that live in these countries need to not bear the brunt of politics but really need the protections that citizens of other countries have. And by our not giving them the protections, we leave ourselves a bit unprotected as well.


“So this legislation would instruct the Administration to push for Taiwan to be granted observer status in INTERPOL. As an observer, Taiwan would have access to the information that law enforcement agencies already have. It would also allow Taiwan to contribute information to INTERPOL—information that could be used to stop crime or thwart terrorist activity, arrest human traffickers, or sideline other bad actors.


“Good precedent exists for giving Taiwan this status.  Taiwan is an observer in the World Health Assembly, where it’s played a vital role in contributing to public health and fighting pandemic disease. In fact, Taiwan had repeatedly shown itself to be a constructive, positive force in the global community. Countries around the world stand to benefit from Taiwan’s inclusion in international organizations like INTERPOL.  So not only does Taiwan benefit, but the rest of the world benefits. So it’s a no-brainer. It’s a win-win situation for everybody.


“So I support this legislation wholeheartedly.  I urge my colleagues to do the same.  I thank my colleague from Florida, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and the Chairman from California, Ed Royce.  Again, we’re all in this together. This is a great bipartisan legislation from the Foreign Affairs Committee. And it’s important for Taiwan and important for the United States. I reserve the balance of my time.”