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When House Majority Leader Tom DeLay delivered his keynote address at AEIís conference regarding a U.S.-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement, he clearly voiced his staunch support for free trade but perhaps even more importantly, he expressed his disdain for the U.S.ís current One China Policy.  It is comforting to see such a high-level member of congress express rather forcefully that the Policy is severely outdated and incongruent with the current political/economic environment in Taiwan and China.  In a time when Taiwan can be utilized as a vital democratic ally in the war against terrorism, the United States must confront the inadequacies of the One China Policy.  

DeLay blamed the One China Policy for keeping Taiwan out of a Free Trade Agreement with the United States, an agreement he considers mutually beneficial and necessary.  He backed up this statement by providing numerous compelling reasons for Taiwan and the U.S. to have open markets with each other.  An FTA would be a great symbolic as well as economic victory for Taiwan as it would be yet another step towards international recognition.

What follows is DeLay's complete speech.

Free Trade with Free Taiwan By Tom DeLay Posted: Monday, June 2, 2003


I thank you all for coming and for the gracious invitation to speak with you today about the prospects for a Free Trade Agreement with Taiwan.

The arguments for such an agreement are so numerous and apparent they hardly need to be reiterated. Taiwan is already a major trading partner of the United States, to the tune of $50.6 billion in 2002. Of that, we imported $32.2 billion worth of goods and services from Taiwan, making it our eighth largest trading partner. And they imported $18.4 billion worth from us, making the United States Taiwan's single largest trading partner.

A formal American free trade agreement with Taiwan would lower prices for American consumers on those goods and services. In turn, it would lower - and eventually eliminate - Taiwanese taxes on American exports. From this dollar-sign perspective, American free trade with Taiwan makes as much sense as American free trade with any other free nation.  

Personally, I am one of the loudest proponents of free trade in Congress. It helps our consumers, helps our business community, creates jobs, and lowers hidden taxes on the American people. It opens markets, breaks down economic, social and political barriers, and sows the seeds of freedom. Free trade, then, is a win-win economic proposition. But we do not just support free trade with Taiwan because of its unique economic benefits.  

We support free trade with Taiwan because that's what democratic allies do. And Taiwan is an economic and political ally of the United States, despite frequent and willful misinterpretation of the "One China Policy". At the time the United States established the "One China Policy", it was essentially a diplomatic contrivance on which foreign servicemen could hold polite conversations. Unfortunately, in the decades since its establishment, the "One China" pretense has been elevated by some to the status of "doctrine." 

Some have wanted to transform this diplomatic nuance into recognition of Beijing's territorial claim over Taiwan: a recognition that has not and never will exist. These same people believe America's primary objective in Asia is the preservation of the "One China Policy," but the One China Policy - like the peace process in the Middle East - is the means to the end, not the end itself. America's primary objective in Asia - and everywhere in the world - is the preservation of democracy and the expansion of freedom.  

Luckily, we now have a President who understands the foreign policy of a great nation must be a rock of moral and political clarity, not a pillow of diplomatic pretensions. Think about it. Pull back from the trees of diplomatic gobbledygook and free trade agreements and self-serving labels like "strategic partnership" and look at the big picture. 

Indeed, when you look at the full scope of the issue, the proposition of a communist takeover of Taiwan should be inconceivable. 

The PRC is a backward, corrupt anachronism run by decrepit tyrants: old apparatchiks clinging to their dying regime. The notion that these oppressive and dangerous men could convince the United States that their murderous ideology should be imposed on a free and independent Taiwan is absurd. And refusing to say so, for fear of upsetting Beijing, is not tact: it is infantilism. That's why the House of Representatives has time and again reinforced our support for Taiwan, including passing the "Taiwan Security Enhancement Act," which I was proud to introduce: because the American people "get it" even if foreign policy elites does not. 

President Bush has said himself the United States will do "whatever it takes" to help Taiwan defend itself. We must not allow a thriving democracy to be swallowed up by a Communist dictatorship. As long as a free and democratic Taiwan, willing to defend itself, needs help securing its borders, we will be there. And - it's worth noting - the world is learning that these days, the government of the United States means what it says. And that is the bottom-line issue: the moral clarity of George W. Bush and the nation he leads. Since September 11, 2001, President Bush has brought that clarity to American foreign policy. Because he understands that - for the foreseeable future - there will be no such thing as a foreign policy question unrelated to the War on Terror. 

Historians are fond of looking back on the past and unearthing the interconnectedness of certain events, and identifying patterns of behavior. And when they do, years from now, they'll find that in President Bush, we have a man who sees these connections and patterns, even as events unfold. He understands that, like misery, evil loves company, and that it must be fought, in all its forms, with all our means, for as long as it threatens the security of the civilized world. 

Because of this clarity, Al Qaeda is on the run, 50 million Afghanis and Iraqis are free. And Yassir Arafat has been removed from the negotiating table in Israel. That same clarity led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the victory over fascism in World War II. And that same clarity will ensure the course of Asian history is set by free men and free nations.  

It's our responsibility to make sure that destiny is fulfilled. Just as there is no moral equivalence between terrorists and innocent victims, there is no moral equivalence between tyrannical regimes and free nations. Let me give you an example of what I mean. Right now, the United States has concerns with certain Taiwanese policies about intellectual property and agriculture markets which would impact the development of any free trade agreements. 

You see, tensions between democracies may occasionally rise, but when they do, democratic governments talk things out. On the other hand, when the People's Republic of China feels such concerns, its government launches missiles into the Taiwan Strait and threatens to incinerate Los Angeles. 

Look at the crisis with North Korea, where the James Bond terror fantasy of global nuclear blackmail is considered a mainstream policy. 

Look at the SARS outbreak in Communist China, where a closed and self-interested government reacted too slowly to keep the disease from infecting people around the world. 

Yet at the same time and without irony, Beijing sees keeping Taiwan out of the World Health Organization as one of its prime objectives. 

This kind of behavior is only as irresponsible as it is predictable from regimes based on oppression and fear. And make no mistake: the danger posed by Beijing and Pyong-yang are not limited to Taiwan and South Korea. These regimes threaten the security of the entire world. Asia is home to the majority of the world's people, and it must be the goal of this nation to make sure that one day all of them live in freedom. 

We need to expand our ties with democratic allies in the region. The future of Asia must reflect what we see in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.  

I have been to Taiwan and have seen the vibrancy, the entrepreneurism, and the freedom in the eyes of its citizens. The United States and our allies will not allow communism and totalitarianism to regain their goose-stepping stride in Asia or anywhere else.  

Many see Taiwan as an impediment to a more stable world. But Taiwan, and threatened democracies like it in unstable regions around the world, are not the problem: they are the solution. 

An economically robust and militarily secure Taiwan is essential to the security of the United States and the Pacific Rim. And our allies must know we will not falter in our national mission to protect democracy.  

We must be clear to our friends and foes alike: the sun is rising over the darkness of terror and tyranny, and of a new day of global freedom is dawning. 

And, again, President George W. Bush "gets it."  

Under previous administrations, Taiwan's president was treated like a second-class citizen. This Administration treats him like the world leader he is. In fact, I was fortunate enough to host President Chen in Houston in 2001 and am happy to report he likes Texas pork barbecue a lot more than I like Taipei pork liver soup.  This president understands America's blossoming relationship with Taiwan - from our security commitments to the prospects of free trade - is part and parcel of the War on Terror. 

In this struggle, the interconnections among security, prosperity, and freedom have never been tighter. If you believe, as I do, as President Bush does - and I should add, as the people of Taiwan do - that the civilized world must fight and defeat terror, then the following goals are unavoidable. 

We must cultivate and exploit opportunities for economic growth - like free trade with Taiwan -- be they fiscal, monetary, or commercial, so that we can meet the demands of the War on Terror. 

We must liberate the oppressed, and export democracy because once people enjoy their first taste of freedom, they only want more of it, and because free and democratic nations tend not to threaten the peace of the world. 

Every time a dictatorship becomes a democracy, and a controlled economy becomes a free market economy, the United States gains an ally and the forces of terror gain an enemy.

That is the underlying logic of the Bush Doctrine: freedom begets prosperity, and prosperity begets security. Freedom, prosperity, and security are the three mighty rivers of civilization, and the hopes of all humanity are at their confluence. 

But those rivers, however powerful, are all obstructed, at different points along the way, by terror and tyranny. The single test of any policy pursued by any nation is whether that policy will reinforce those obstructions or break through them. 

A free trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan will increase Asian prosperity and security. And if history teaches us anything about prosperity and security, it is that freedom - in Communist China, North Korea, and elsewhere - won't be far behind.   




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