of the United States
of State Madeleine Albright
C Street, N.W.
We are writing to express our disappointment at the State
Department's restrictions on Taiwan's democratically-elected
President, Chen Shui-bian, during his transit stop in Los
Angeles this past weekend.
A number of Democratic and Republican Members of Congress
sought to meet privately with President Chen on Sunday,
August 13. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend this meeting
due to pressure from the U.S. State Department.
The United States has fought for democracy around the world
and is without a doubt the world's leading democracy as
we enter the new century. Yet, when visiting the US, Taiwan's
president was denied the basic rights of freedom of speech
and freedom of assembly. The 23 million people of Taiwan
have built a mature democracy over the past decade. We wanted
to speak with President Chen about his country's accomplishments
and its plans to support U.S. interests in Asia.
US policy toward China and Taiwan should be evenhanded.
It is the responsibility of both sides of the Taiwan Strait
to come to a mutually acceptable, peaceful resolution that
has, as President Clinton has repeatedly stated, the "assent"
of the people of Taiwan. Since Jiang Zemin comes to the
U.S. to give his views, Chen Shui-bian and his ministers
should have the same right.
We request that the State Department immediately conduct
a review of Administration policy on visits by high-level
Taiwanese officials to the U.S. and take the necessary steps
to end the inappropriate ban on high-level visits between
elected Taiwanese officials and U.S. officials, including
the democratically-elected President of Taiwan.
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
David Wu (D-OR)
Robert Wexler (D-FL)
Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Tim Holden (D-PA)
Peter Deutsch (D-FL)
Edolphus Towns (D-NY)