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 FAPA Press Release on SSJC FY 2007 Amendment
 

Click here for the press release by the four Members that introduced the amendment.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                    June 28, 2006

CONTACT: Iris Ho 

HISTORIC VOTE ON HOUSE FLOOR IN SUPPORT OF TAIWAN HIGH LEVEL VISITS

Over the past years, the United States Congress has expressed support for expanding U.S.-Taiwan high-level communications and visits.

Today, for the first time ever though, the House of Representatives passed by voice vote an amendment initiated by Rep. Thomas Tancredo, and supported by Reps. Robert Andrews, Steve Chabot and Sherrod Brown. The amendment, attached to the Fiscal Year 2007 Science, State, Justice and Commerce Appropriations bill, offered to remove current restrictions on the communications and exchange between Taiwanese officials and their U.S. counterparts.

The amendment (Section 801) reads “None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to enforce any of the provisions in the Memorandum to all Department and Agency Executive Secretaries dated, February 2, 2001 and entitled, [Guidelines on Relations with Taiwan]”. 

According to this 2001 memo, Taiwanese diplomats or elected officials cannot meet in Department of State buildings, the White House. Executive branch personnel cannot attend meetings at Twin Oaks. State and Defense Department officials above a certain rank cannot travel to Taiwan…etc. If and when the Senate passed this amendment, all restrictions listed in the 2001 memo will be lifted by law.

This is the first time the United States Congress introduced binding languages on the issue and the first time Congress restricts appropriated government funds to lift the restrictions. This is also the first time Congress directly challenges the Administration’s guidelines on such restrictions.

The Chairman of the Science, State, Justice and Commerce Appropriations subcommittee, Frank Wolf (R-VA), voiced his strong support for the amendment when the amendment was up for debate on the House floor. Rep. Wolf argued that such restrictions should be imposed on Beijing instead; not on Taiwan.

In a related development, the co-chairs of the Senate Taiwan Caucus, Senators George Allen (R-VA) and Tim Johnson (D-SD) introduced SCR 106, calling for the complete removal of restrictions on high-level visits by Taiwanese officials to the United States. This is the first resolution introduced in the Senate in recent years that addressed this issue.

FAPA President C.T. Lee states: “Today is a historic day! Advancements were made in removing the restrictions on the high-level communications and visits between Taiwan and the U.S. in both chambers of the U.S. Congress. It is difficult to imagine that we even need regulations for our diplomats on how to write a simple thank you note to their Taiwanese counterparts. Such arcane, mundane and ridiculous restrictions only waste the time and energy of our diplomats, let alone waste the tax payers’ money.”

C.T. Lee concludes: “The actions taken by the Senate and the House solidify the United States Congress’ firmest support for Taiwan’s democracy. Passage of this amendment in the Senate will substantially improve direct dialogue and exchange between the two countries. Today is the watershed moment in normalizing diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the U.S.” 

新聞聯絡人何燕青  

FAPA 新聞稿】                                                                                                                                 2006628日】

台美高層交流互訪於美國國會大獲展獲

美參眾兩院於昨日與今日接連以實際行動,支持台美兩國擴大高層交流及互訪。眾議院於今日下午全院無異議,以口頭方式通過「2007年科學、國務院、司法與商業部撥款法案」中的「唐克多、安德魯斯、夏波與布朗條款」。今天通過的此項條款將有助於大幅提昇台美兩國政府往後的交流。

除了眾議院在此項議題上大獲展獲之外,參議院也於昨日由參議院台灣連線艾倫(George Allen, R-VA)與強森(Tim Johnson, D-SD),共同引進第106號決議案,支持台灣高層官員自由訪美。此決議案與眾議院由夏波與布朗於日前引進的第381號決議案相互呼應。這是美國參議院近年來首度就台灣高層訪美引進決議案。

由唐克多議員引進,安德魯斯夏波與布朗議員共同贊助的第801項條款,主要是指示美國政府不得運用撥款法案裡的任何經費,實施行政部門於2001年所公佈的對台交往相關實行細則。根據這份2001年的規定,台灣外交人員以及民選官員不得在國務院,白宮等地會晤;美國行政官員不得參加於雙橡園舉辦的相關活動;美國國務院以及國防部一定職位以上的官員不得參訪台灣;美國政府不得直接與台灣政府聯絡,必須透過第三者(如美國在台協會);美國行政部門與台灣政府使用書信溝通時,不得使用美國政府的正式信頭與信封,必須使用沒有任何信頭的空白信紙與信封。換言之,一旦參議院也跟著眾議院通過這項條款時,所有行政部門2001年實行細則裡對台灣加諸的限制,將被迫解除。 

這是美國國會就台美兩國現有的諸多交流限制,首次以具有法律效力的條文,以及首次藉由撥款法案限制經費的方式,尋求解除這些不合理的相關限制。這也是美國國會首度直接挑戰對台交流限制的相關實行準則。

撥款委員會裡的科學、國務院、司法與商業部小組主席沃爾夫(Frank Wolf, R-VA)在眾議院會場發言時,大力支持這項條款,他認為這些不合理的限制,應該套用在與中國政府的交往上,而不是在台美關係上。 

FAPA會長李青泰表示:「解除台美高層互訪與交流的限制,在參眾兩院雙雙獲得進展,可謂歷史性的一刻!實在很難想像,美國外交官連寫個簡短的感謝函,都還必須按照規定,使用空白信紙與信封,這些既冗長又可笑的限制,只是浪費美國外交官的時間與精力,也是浪費美國納稅人的金錢,早就該解除了。」 

李青泰繼續表示:「參眾兩院的相繼動作,落實了美國國會對台灣民主最堅定的支持,更將實質全面提昇兩國的直接交流與互訪;今日,是台美兩國邁向外交關係正常化的一個重要的里程碑。」

 
 
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