Petition solicits support for U.S. recognition of Taiwan
In the White House's "We the People" petition website, the petition initiated on Oct. 7 by someone identified only as "K.W." had collected more than 40,000 signatures endorsing the petition as of Oct. 11, according to the website.
Under the rules of "We the People," a petition needs to collect 100,000 signatures or more in 30 days after being submitted to the website, and in 60 days after the threshold is reached, in order for the White House to review it and issue a response to the request.
The deadline for gathering enough signatures is Nov. 6.
"We the People" is a platform which empowers the public in the United States to take action to petition the government to carry out reform; it is meant to be a way for anybody, anywhere to speak directly to the government and become an agent for change, according to the White House.
The White House added that the right to petition the government is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
In the case of the this petition, the initiator said the U.S. government should formally recognize Taiwan as an independently governed nation that it has been for more than 60 years.
"The 23 million Taiwanese who live in Taiwan, an island country independently self-governed for 60 years now, is a model for other Asian countries to follow, having transitioned from dictatorship into democracy in 1996 without bloodshed, when it voted for its first presidential election," the initiator K.W. said in the petition.
"It is a leader and partner to the United States, providing assistance to other countries with humanitarian aid and rescue teams during disasters. It is also a strategic partner in the Pacific, and an important ally in helping to contain China," K.W. added.
The petition was initiated at a time when Washington has expressed serious concerns about Taiwan's loss of diplomatic allies to Beijing, in particular after Taipei lost two diplomatic allies -- the Solomon Islands and Kiribati, both in the Pacific -- in just one week last month.
On Sept. 16, the Solomon Islands decided to switch diplomatic allegiance from Taipei to Beijing, and four days later Kiribati did the same, leaving Taiwan with only 15 diplomatic allies worldwide.
"It's time the 23 million people of Taiwan be represented in the United Nations (Taiwan is the only country not represented in the U.N.), and that can only happen if the United States extends formal recognition to the country, so other countries will follow suit," K.W. said.
After Taiwan lost two allies in the Pacific, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in late September passed the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act aimed at supporting Taiwan's international presence.
K.W. was not alone in petitioning the U.S. government on the Taiwan issue. On May 31, someone named Michael Kreuzberg submitted a petition to the German parliament to ask the government to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and posted it online on Sept. 11 to collect signatures.
By the deadline of Oct. 3, the petition succeeded in reaching a threshold of 50,000 signatures and the German parliament is expected to put the issue on the parliamentary agenda for debate.
In 2016, a similar petition was submitted to the U.K. government's petition website, calling on the government to recognize Taiwan.
While the petition reached a threshold to prompt the U.K. government to respond, the U.K. government said the Taiwan issue needs a dialogue across the Taiwan Strait to reach a consensus among the people on both sides.