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September 24, 2017

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Ex-US delegate supports full UN membership for Taiwan

The U.S. Republican Party's John Bolton, a former delegate to the United Nations, yesterday urged Taiwan to expand its role in the international community.

"I think that Taiwan's role really needs to expand. I've believed for a long time that Taiwan should have full state membership in the organization of the U.N. system," said Bolton to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday at the party's Taipei headquarters.

In 1971, Taiwan exited the U.N. after the admission of the People's Republic of China.

Many variables indicate that Taiwan deserves U.N. membership today, according to Bolton.

"(Taiwan) is a state, it upholds territory, it has a capital city, it carries on the regular functions of government ... The size of Taiwan's economy and the fact that it's a democratic society all indicates that it deserves membership in the U.N. system, the U.N. itself, its specialized agencies and other international organizations. So I hope the government pursues that," he said.

Through an interpreter, Bolton told the DPP chairman that the decision to pursue membership is something Taiwan must decide for itself. But Washington should support the nation's efforts because Taiwan's successful bid is "in the U.S. interest."

"It's something the U.S. should be prepared to support," he said. "And for (good) or for ill, Taiwan is only going to succeed fully only if the U.S. supports it."

Bolton also said he believes Taiwan should strengthen its role in the unfolding South China Sea dispute — a matter of "substantial concern" to the U.S.

He was responding to Su's question, "How can Taiwan maintain a balanced strategy for self preservation in a shifting Asia-Pacific situation?"

Bolton served as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. for one year under former President George W. Bush. He has hinted at the possibility of his own presidential run, but announced this January his endorsement for Mitt Romney as Republican Party nominee.

After meeting with President Ma Ying-jeou earlier in the week, Bolton's entourage spoke an hour yesterday with Su, DPP Legislator Bi-khim Hsiao and Liu Shih-chung (劉世忠), the director of the DPP's Department of International Affairs.

According to Liu, the meeting was a "strategic dialogue" that focused on the U.S. presidential election situation and Taiwan's role in the international community.

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