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HIGH-LEVEL VISITS RESOLUTION IN WAKE OF HSIEH VISIT
A few days after Frank Hsieh, former Premier of Taiwan and the
Democratic Progressive Party's candidate for the March 2008
Presidential elections visited Capitol Hill, the House of
Representatives today passed House Concurrent Resolution 136. This
marks the first time such resolution is passed in the whole house
despite several similar attempts took place in the past.
The resolution, introduced on May 1 by Taiwan Caucus co-chairs Reps.
Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and co-sponsored by
close to 50 Members of Congress, calls for the complete removal of
all restrictions imposed on visits by Taiwan's highest-level
government officials to the U.S, including the President.
Congressional reception held last week welcoming Mr. Hsieh and which
was well attended by almost 30 Members of Congress, many
Representatives voiced their strong support for the resolution and
urged the administration to abolish all restrictions on the visits.
Lantos' Republican counterpart on the committee, Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen, said there is a "broad bipartisan coalition" in
Congress in favor of high-level visits. "It should not, however,
only be former Premiers from Taiwan who lead delegations to
Washington, DC. It should be sitting Premiers and other high-level
Taiwan government officials.", stated the ranking member of the
House Foreign Affairs Committee, Cuban-born Congresswoman
Ros-Lehtinen at the reception.
"I hope that Frank Hsieh can travel to the United States at any time
under all circumstances, if he is elected," Rep. Robert Andrews
(D-NJ), one of the strongest voices on behalf of Taiwan in the
United States Congress, said, verbalizing the sentiments of other
During debate on the House floor today, Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)
stated: "One of the most insensitive and insensible things we can
do" is not to welcome Taiwan's elected leaders to Washington DC.
C.T. Lee states: "It is an utter irony that last week Frank Hsieh
was being feted by Members of Congress on Capitol Hill, but if and
when elected as the next president of Taiwan next March, he is no
longer allowed to set foot on the soil of Washington DC!"
"It was encouraging to hear several House members, including the two
most important leaders on the House Foreign Affairs Committee,
conclude that the hi-level restrictions ought to be scrapped as soon
"The high-level visits issue is FAPA's number one campaign during
this 110th Congress. For the past few months, we have mobilized all
of our 56 chapters urging them to contact their Members of Congress.
Why? Because welcoming Taiwanese democratically-elected leaders'
visits to the Nation's Capital reinforces the American principle of
promoting freedom and democracy worldwide."
After passage today, the resolution is forwarded to the Senate.