RESTRICTIONS TO TAIWANESE PRESIDENT
CHEN SHUI-BIAN'S TRAVEL IN THE U.S. -- (Extensions of Remarks -
May 03, 2006)
SPEECH OF_HON. ROBERT E. ANDREWS OF
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 2006
ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, as you may know, this morning, the
democratically elected president of Taiwan , Mr. Chen Shui-bian
finally received permission to stop in Anchorage--but not spend
the night--on his way to South America. This is quite a change
in plans for President Chen, who had hoped to meet with Members
of Congress in New York on his way to Paraguay and Costa Rica,
but whose trip was delayed for a day because the administration
at first refused even this brief stopover. If you have been
following this case, you would probably agree with me that this
is no way to treat the democratically elected president of one
of our staunchest allies in the Pacific.
There are no laws or regulations that prevent leaders from
Taiwan visiting the United States, but simply a policy of the
administration that forbids President Chen and other Taiwanese
officials from officially visiting the United States. What is
the source of this restriction? Concern that the Chinese
government will be displeased by any welcome of a Taiwanese
official on our soil. However, this most recent self-imposed
restriction goes even further than the previous policy I have
Last week, the Chinese urged us NOT to allow President Chen to
land in the United States at all. I suppose that we can
therefore view this Alaskan stop as a victory for U.S.
sovereignty and relations with Taiwan . However, in the past
President Chen has been allowed stops in Los Angeles, Houston,
and New York. The final agreement allowed him to touch down and
refuel in Alaska, but not even get off the plane--what an insult
to a friend and partner of the U.S.A.
understand that President Chen will be allowed to pass through
Honolulu, HI, next week on his way home from South America. I
mean no disrespect to the fine States of Hawaii and Alaska, but
the symbolism of keeping President Chen as far away from
Washington, DC, as possible is unmistakable.
Speaker, I believe that this is no way to treat the elected
president of one of our fellow democracies which happens to be
one of our best friends in the region.
Last month we invited the unelected leader of China to the White
House. We presented with a 21 gun salute, and laid out the red
carpet for him. But the democratically elected President of
Taiwan we do not even let set foot on U.S. soil.
What is wrong with this picture?
believe that we should work towards lifting all restrictions on
high level visits from Taiwan including the President. This
would have several benefits for both the United States and our
friend Taiwan . First, we would for once and for all eradicate
the necessity of complex, lengthy and, truly,
humiliating-for-Taiwan negotiations about where and when
President Chen would be able to refuel or travel in the United
States. Secondly, being able to hear first-hand from Taiwanese
officials would promote a balanced understanding of both sides
of the Taiwan Strait issue for Congress, the Administration and
the American public. Thirdly, we would reduce the ability of
Beijing to politicize our valid relations with Taiwan . Finally,
and perhaps most importantly, we would extend to the President
of Taiwan --and thus to the people of Taiwan --the respect and
dignity they deserve.
Next week, when President Chen travels home to Taiwan , I hope
the administration will change its plans and allow President
Chen to make a stopover in New York as he initially planned.
* It is
my sincere belief that the United States needs to do a better
job in nurturing and protecting the fragile democracy in Taiwan
. We can do that by communicating directly with President Chen
about how he sees the role of his country in promoting democracy
around the world.