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Text: Drug Certification Statement of Explanation for Taiwan Issued by U.S. Department of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

Following is the text of the State Department's statement of explanation on Clinton's 1998 narcotic certification decision for Taiwan:

Given trafficking patterns in the region and Taiwan's role as a shipping center, the United States believes Taiwan remains a transit point for drugs significantly affecting the United States. While Taiwan authorities dispute this assessment, there is no disagreement with regard to the fact that individuals from Taiwan continue to be involved in international narcotics trafficking. Some 67 percent of all drugs smuggled into Taiwan are believed to come from China. Whatever their belief about Taiwan's transit role, Taiwan authorities continue to mount an aggressive counternarcotics campaign that involves both social rehabilitation programs and harsh sentences for narco-trafficking. Although Taiwan is not a U.N. member and cannot be a signatory to the 1988 U.N. Drug Convention, it tries to meet Convention goals regarding precursor chemicals via an active program to control the products of its large chemical industry. In addition, Taiwan authorities have come to recognize that money laundering is a growing problem. In 1997, a Money Laundering Prevention Center was established under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau.

Cooperation between USG law enforcement agencies (under the auspices of the American Institute in Taiwan) and Taiwan law enforcement institutions continued to expand in 1997. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network officials have led training seminars for Taiwan counterparts and have broadened their range of contacts within Taiwan's law enforcement community. Taiwan authorities have generally responded positively and constructively to U.S. requests on counternarcotics issues. With the opening of the Money Laundering Prevention Center, authorities have started sharing with USG law enforcement officials Taiwan-originated information related to money laundering cases where the flow of money leads to the United States. In addition, Taiwan Ministry of Justice investigation officers assisted DEA agents with a case involving a shipment of drugs to Guam.

Taiwan's counternarcotics enforcement activities led to a 19.1 percent increase in drug convictions in the first ten months of 1997 over all of 1996. Drug seizures also increased. The Money Laundering Prevention Center pursued investigations in all 360 cases of reported suspicious transactions. Taiwan also continues to prosecute cases of public corruption. There are, however, no known cases of official involvement in narcotics trafficking.