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    FAPA's News Release


August 25, 2000

Today, seven Members of the U.S. House of Representatives -Reps. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Tim Holden (D-PA), David Wu (D-OR), Robert Wexler (D-FL), Peter Deutsch (D-FL), and Edolphus Towns (D-NY) i.e. all Democrats- concluded in a letter to Secretary Madeleine Albright: "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."

Despite the fact that both Houses of Congress are currently in recess, the seven Representatives wrote to the Secretary in the aftermath of the layover by Taiwan’s President Chen Shui-bian in Long Beach, CA during the night of August 13.

As for the motivation behind writing the letter, they state: "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."

According to newsreports, 15 Representatives sought to attend a reception honoring President Chen and hosted by House International Relations Committee ranking member Sam Gejdenson in Santa Monica on August 13. Due to State Department pressure President Chen decided not to attend the event.

The Members conclude: "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."

FAPA President Wen-yen Chen, Ph.D. states: "We Taiwanese Americans are deeply disturbed and outraged about the way the democratically elected leader of Taiwan was treated during his layover in California. We therefore strongly hope -since it is not only in the interest of Taiwan but also in the interest of the United States to communicate directly with elected and appointed top officials of Taiwan, including the President- that next to this letter, legislation will be introduced when Congress returns in September calling for a complete lifting of all restrictions on high-level visits by these officials to the United States." And: "The fact that the letter is signed by seven Democrats, significantly adds to the weight and importance of the letter. This illustrates that the anger amongst Members of Congress about the fashion in which President Chen was treated in Long Beach is not merely a display of partisan politics but a sincere display of genuine frustration."

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