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  Reps. Tancredo and Rohrabacher Scold State Department on President Chen's transit




CONTACT: Will Adams

May 5, 2006


Tancredo Scolds State Department on Chen Visit

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Tom Tancredo (R-CO) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), both members of the House International Relations Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice questioning the Department’s unfair treatment of Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian. A week after China’s leader, Hu Jintao, was given to world-class treatment at the White House, Chen was denied the right to merely stop over in the continental U.S.

The full text of the letter is reprinted below:

Dear Secretary Rice,

            We were troubled by recent news reports indicating that the Department of State – under pressure from China – prevented a planned stopover in the continental United States by Republic of China (Taiwan) President Chen Shui-bian en route to several countries in Latin America. 

            The Taiwan Relations Act places no statutory restrictions on visits by high-ranking Taiwanese officials.  None of the communiqués on which our misguided “One China” policy is based restrict visits from Taiwanese officials.  In fact, Congress has explicitly authorized the President of Taiwan and other high-ranking ROC officials to visit the United States in Public Law 103-416.  And, of course, in 1995 Congress overwhelmingly approved a resolution expressing support for a visit by Taiwan’s then-President Lee Teng-Hui (the House approved that resolution 396-0, and the Senate approved it 97-1).  Notwithstanding this record, however, the Department of State continues to behave in a manner that seems more consistent with the posturing of China’s Foreign Ministry than the direction of the U.S. Congress. 

          In his second inaugural address, President Bush told the world, “When you stand for your liberty, we will stand for you.”  Scarcely more than one year after making this statement, however, the unelected leader of communist China was welcomed – complete with a 21-gun salute – at the White House, while the elected leader of a free and democratic Taiwan was apparently refused even the basic courtesy of transiting in the continental United States.

            Given China’s continued efforts to block U.N. Security Council action on the Iranian nuclear issue and the genocide in Darfur, their continued persecution of religious groups such as the Falun Gong, and their refusal to take meaningful steps to revalue their currency, why is it that the Department of State feels compelled to subject Taiwanese officials to this kind of unfair treatment at the behest of Communist China?  Is there some direct linkage between this treatment of Chen and some effort (so far unsuccessful) by the Department to get Chinese cooperation on these other issues?

            Why did it take the administration so long to make a decision on President Chen’s requested transit?  When a decision was finally made, why were such restrictive and humiliating conditions applied to the transit (allowing only for refueling in either Alaska or Hawaii)? 

            President Bush noted during the visit of the Chinese leader that his position on Taiwan (and ostensibly these kinds of visits by Taiwanese officials) has not changed – but what exactly is that position?  The handling of this transit stop request was the most restrictive of any request since 1994 – so which is it?  Has our position on how to deal with transit requests by ROC leaders not changed – or has the State Department chosen to roll back 12 years of progress on visits and communication with Taiwan’s elected leaders? 

            How does the Department plan to handle the next request by a Taiwanese President for a transit stop in the continental U.S.?

            Finally, why was President Chen treated in this way after the KMT Chairman was reportedly received by a Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy National Security Advisor when visiting Washington earlier this year?  Is President Chen’s party-affiliation the problem?  Is the State Department “playing favorites” in an effort to influence Taiwan’s domestic politics?

            Thank you in advance for your consideration, and we look forward to hearing from you.



Tom Tancredo
Dana Rohrabacher

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