DEMOCRATS URGE SECRETARY ALBRIGHT
TO END BAN ON HIGH-LEVEL VISITS FROM TAIWAN
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."
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.
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.
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."