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FAPA PRESS RELEASE:

REPRESENTATIVES SEEK TO LOWER

RESTRICTIONS ON HIGH-LEVEL VISITS

FROM TAIWAN INCLUDING THE PRESIDENT

-for immediate release-

September 14, 2000

Today, a bi-partisan group of twenty-three Members of the U.S. House of Representatives (Sam Gejdenson (D-CT), Benjamin Gilman (R-NY), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Mike McNulty (D-NY), Dana Rohrabacher (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Wexler (D-FL), Peter Deutsch (D-FL), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Tom Lantos (D-CA), Tim Holden (D-PA), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Tom Bliley (R-VA), Mark Souder (R-IN), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Howard Berman (D-CA), Bob Schaffer (R-CO), David Wu (D-OR), Tom Campbell (R-CA), John Doolittle (R-CA), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Michael Bilirakis (R-FL)) introduced a resolution (See: next page) seeking to lower restrictions on high-level visits from Taiwan, including the president.

The resolution concludes: "That it is the sense of the Congress that (1) it is in the interest of the Congress and the executive branch of the United States to communicate directly with elected and appointed top officials of Taiwan, including its democratically elected president; and (2) the United States should revise, with a view toward reducing, restrictions on high-level visits by these officials of Taiwan to the United States."

On August 25, seven Representatives -all Democrats- wrote Secretary Albright with a similar request..

Despite the fact that both Houses of Congress are going into the final weeks of the 106th Congress, the legislators deemed it important to send a signal to the Executive Branch that the way Taiwan’s democratically elected president was treated during his transit stopover in the United States last month, and the way they were barred from meeting with the President, was an outrage. The resolution indeed clearly states: "Whereas several Members of Congress expressed interest in meeting with President Chen Shui-bian during his 16-hour layover in Los Angeles, California, en route to Latin America and Africa on August 13, 2000; Whereas the meeting with President Chen did not take place because of pressure from Washington and Beijing;"

FAPA President Wen-yen Chen, Ph.D. states: "Now that it looks as if Taiwan’s Vice-president Lu is being denied to transit in New York, Taiwanese Americans are more and more outraged about the way the elected leaders of Taiwan are being treated during their layovers in the United States. 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, we rejoice in the fact that this legislation is being introduced by a bi-partisan group of friends of Taiwan, led by Committee chair Gilman and ranking Committee Member Gejdenson. Although chances are not great that the House and the Senate will be able to pass this legislation before the end of the year, we at FAPA will do whatever lies in our capability to make sure this legislation is passed next year by Congress - that is: if the restrictions are not completely lifted by that time."

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TEXT RESOLUTION:

H. CON. RES. 401

Mr. GEJDENSON (for himself and Reps. Gilman, Sherman, McNulty, Rohrabacher, Brown OH, Wexler, Deutsch, Sessions, Lantos, Holden, Diaz-Balart, Andrews, Bliley, Souder, Lowey, Berman, Schaffer, Wu, Campbell and Doolittle) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations

Expressing the sense of the Congress regarding high-level visits by Taiwanese officials to the United States. Whereas Taiwan is the seventh largest trading partner of the United States and plays an important role in the econ-omy of the Asia-Pacific region;

Whereas Taiwan routinely holds free and fair elections in a multiparty system, as evidenced most recently by Tai-wan’s second democratic presidential election of March 18, 2000, in which Mr. Chen Shui-bian was elected as president of the 23,000,000 people of Taiwan;

Whereas Members of Congress, unlike executive branch officials, have long had the freedom to meet with leaders of governments with which the United States does not have formal relations—meetings which provide a vital opportunity to discuss issues of mutual concern that directly affect United States national interests;

Whereas several Members of Congress expressed interest in meeting with President Chen Shui-bian during his 16-hour layover in Los Angeles, California, en route to Latin America and Africa on August 13, 2000;

Whereas the meeting with President Chen did not take place because of pressure from Washington and Beijing;

Whereas the Congress thereby lost the opportunity to communicate directly with President Chen about developments in the Asia-Pacific region and key elements of the relationship between the United States and Taiwan when he visited Los Angeles;

Whereas there could not be a more important time to find opportunities to talk to Taiwan’s new leaders given the enormous economic, security, and political interests we share with both Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, as well as the results of the recent election in Taiwan which provided for the first party leadership change in Taiwan’s history.

Whereas the Congress must continue to play an independent oversight role on United States policy toward Taiwan, and try to find ways to reduce the threat of war between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, and in particular, to counteract China’s buildup of missiles pointed at Taiwan;

Whereas the United States continues to cling to its policy of more than 20 years, which prohibits high-ranking Taiwan leaders from making official visits to the United States, forcing Members of Congress to choose whether to rely solely upon indirect assessments provided by the administration or to travel to Taiwan to obtain this information firsthand, and denying Taiwan’s democratically elected officials the respect they deserve;

Whereas, by bestowing upon President Chen the respect his office deserves, the United States would have demonstrated to the people of both Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China United States support for democracy; and

Whereas the Immigration and Nationality Technical Corrections Act of 1994 (Public Law 103–416) provides that the President of Taiwan shall be welcome in the United States at any time to discuss a host of important issues:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress that (1) it is in the interest of the Congress and the executive branch of the United States to communicate directly with elected and appointed top officials of Taiwan, including its democratically elected president; and(2) the United States should revise, with a view toward reducing, restrictions on high-level visits by these officials of Taiwan to the United States.

 

For cosponsors update, please click here.

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PRESS RELEASE

by

Rep. Sam Gejdenson (D-CT)

Committee on International Relations

Ranking Democratic Member

 

GEJDENSON INTRODUCES RESOLUTION CALLING FOR REDUCTIONS IN RESTRICTIONS ON TRAVEL OF TAIWAN OFFICIALS TO THE U.S.

Gains strong bipartisan support from 20 Members of Congress

Washington, DC - September 14, 2000. Restrictions on travel to the U.S. by high-level Taiwan officials do not give President Chen the respect he deserves and must be reduced, according to a resolution introduced today by U.S. Rep. Sam Gejdenson (D-CT), Ranking Democratic Member of the House International Relations Committee. Gejdenson was joined by a bi-partisan group of 19 Members in introducing the resolution, including House International Relations Committee Chairman Ben Gilman (R-NY), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA).

In early August, Gejdenson scheduled a reception in Los Angeles for President Chen Shui-bian during his 16-hour layover en route to Latin America and Africa. The reception was canceled, however, due to pressure on Taiwan from Washington and Beijing.

"Taiwan is a vibrant democracy and a key trading partner of the United States," said Gejdenson. "It is unacceptable that President Chen was forced into canceling an opportunity to meet informally with Members of Congress. The U.S. must grant President Chen the respect he deserves."

"The United States has enormous political, security and economic interests with Taiwan," Gejdenson continued. "We should be trying to create new opportunities for dialogue with Taiwan's new leadership, not to discourage them."

The Gejdenson resolution notes that Members of Congress have long had the freedom to meet with leaders of governments with which the United States does not have formal relations, that the Congress lost a critical opportunity to communicate with President Chen when the Los Angeles meeting was canceled, and that Congress must continue to play an independent oversight role on U.S. policy toward Taiwan. The resolution also states that the current U.S. policy of denying high-ranking Taiwan leaders from making official visits to the U.S. forces Members of Congress to either go to Taiwan or rely upon the indirect assessments provided by the administration.

The resolution states that it is the sense of Congress that it is in the interest of the U.S. to communicate directly with elected and appointed top officials of Taiwan, including its democratically elected President, and that the U.S. should "revise, with a view toward reducing, restrictions on high-level visits by officials of Taiwan to the United States."

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