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Torricelli Writes Albright on VP Visit

For immediate release September 20, 2000

Torricelli Asks State Department

To Reconsider Lu New York Stop

 

In a 9/18 letter, Senator Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) asked Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to reconsider Taiwan's Vice-President Annette Lu's request for a transit stop in New York at the end of September. If the State Department's denial of such a stop "cannot be reversed, I would appreciate a full explanation of the reasons for the decision and the guidelines that your Department intends to use in future cases of this type," Torricelli stated.

"Taiwan has now established a model democracy which deserves the full attention and support of the United States as it faces the political challenge of dealing with the People's Republic of China," Torricelli argued. "One way to demonstrate the commitment of our government to Taiwan is by treating Taiwan's leaders with the recognition and respect they deserve. Allowing Ms. Lu the courtesy of making a transit stop in New York would be a gesture of respect which would have no adverse affects on relations with any other nation," Torricelli concluded.

"Taiwan certainly deserves respect for its transition to democracy, but the issue cuts even deeper," stated Chen Wen-yen, FAPA President. "U.S. policy respects both sides of the Taiwan Strait, insists that any resolution of the Taiwan issue must be mutually acceptable and, in President Clinton's words, have the assent of the people of Taiwan. PRC President Jiang Zemin just held a full scale meeting with President Clinton in New York to explain the People's Republic of China's views on cross-strait relations. Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian, and other high officials in this democratic government, should also have the opportunity to explain the views of the people of Taiwan, both to policy makers and the American public. We don't just want to see carefully cordoned off 'transit stops' for Taiwan's leaders but full scale visits where the voice of the Taiwan side of the Strait can be heard."

FAPA supports House Resolution 401, which has 23 co-sponsors led by Reps. Sam Gejdenson (D-CT) and Ben Gilman (R-NY). 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."

For more information, contact Michael Fonte @ (202) 547-3686

 

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United States Senate

 

September 18, 2000

The Honorable Madeleine K. Albright

Secretary of State

United States Department of State

2201 C Street, NW

Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Albright:

I am writing to ask that you reconsider the State Department's decision to deny a transit visa to Taiwan's Vice-President Annette Lu to allow her to stop in New York during her upcoming trip to Central America. It is my understanding the Vice-President Lu would like to stopover in New York from September 30 to October 1 to facilitate her travel and to allow her to meet informally with certain private U.S. citizens and residents.

Issuing a visa to Vice-President Lu would be consistent with past State Department practice. Several officials of Taiwan, including Ms. Lu's predecessor as Vice-President, have been permitted in recent years to visit New York during their overseas trips. In my view, officials of the new Democratic Progressive Party administration, which took office in May, should be accorded the same courtesies as officials of the previous KMT administration.

The election on March 18, 2000 of the DPP's Chen Shui-bian as President, and Annette Lu as Vice-President, represents the crowning achievement of the struggle of the people of Taiwan for full-fledged democracy and freedom. Taiwan has now established a model democracy which deserves the full attention and support of United States as it faces the political challenge of dealing with the People's Republic of China. One way to demonstrate the commitment of our government to Taiwan is by treating Taiwan's leaders with the recognition and respect they deserve. Allowing Ms. Lu the courtesy of making a transit stop in New York would be a gesture of respect which would have no adverse effects on relations with any other nation.

I urge you to revisit the decision on Vice-President Lu's transit visa and consider allowing her to stop in New York on her way back from Central America. If this decision cannot be reversed, I would appreciate a full explanation of the reasons for the decision and the guidelines that your Department intends to use in future cases of this type. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Robert Torricelli

 
Any questions? Please email: home@fapa.org