Representatives back President Lee's assertion of statehood
for the island
delegation of seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives
led by International Relations Committee chairman Benjamin
Gilman (R-NY) visited Taiwan from August 8-10, 1999.
Taiwan's president for his recent demand that China treat
Taiwan equally as a state, squaring off against President
Clinton's administration over the latest Taiwan-China tensions.
Lee Teng-hui was justified in making his appeal, and China
must bear responsibility for damage to security in the region,
read a statement issued by a congressional delegation led
by Rep. Benjamin Gilman, chairman of the House International
what President Lee was doing and that he was facing reality
and I think we all have empathy for his approach to the problem,''
our view that the two sides should engage in a dialogue with
equals," Gilman said in the statement.
that there are concerns in the U.S. Congress that Washington
is leaning ''too much'' toward Beijing and should be ''more
even-handed'' regarding cross-strait relations. ''Especially
at this critical time Taiwan deserves a lot more support than
we have been giving at the administration level,'' Gilman
said. He said any change in the island's status should come
only with the consent of the Taiwan people.
backed Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui's assertion of statehood
for the island as they ended the visit, while urging Washington
to lend greater support to Taiwan amid rising tension with
by House International Relations Committee
Chairman Rep. Benjamin Gilman's (R-NY) upon departing from
Taiwan on August 10, 1999 after two-day trip to Taiwan leading
Congressional delegation consisting of the following Representatives:
Gilman (R-NY), Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Rep. John Dingell
(D-MI), Rep. Robert Underwood (D-Guam), Rep. Tom Campbell
(R-CA), Rep. Robert Ney (R-OH)
pleased to note that our visit to Taiwan has been, we consider,
a very successful visit. We've had full and productive conferences
and we welcomed the opportunity to share views with some of
Taiwan's most senior officials. We're grateful for their candid
expressions and thinking on all of the important issues confronting
Taiwan at this time. We are especially grateful for the warm
hospitality that has been extended to us by the people of
had good meetings with President Lee, Vice President Lien,
National Security Council Secretary General Yin, Defense Minister
Tang, Acting Foreign Minister Lee, Chairman Su of the Mainland
Affairs Council, and Chairman Lin of the DPP. We were warmly
received by all. Our extensive discussions we feel were highly
productive and they also helped us and enhanced our understanding
of President Lee's decision on cross-Strait relations and
Taiwan's hopes for the future.
our nation's abiding interest in peace and stability in East
Asia and for the peaceful resolution of Taiwan's future. We
expressed our concern about Chinese "saber rattling" over
President Lee's state-to-state remarks and its effect on the
confidence and security-building in the region. As we leave
Taiwan, we are calling upon the PRC to renounce the use of
force against Taiwan.
recognizing that Taiwan is governed by a democratically-elected
president, we strongly support President Lee's right to address
Taipei's views of the cross-Strait relationship. It is our
view that the two sides should engage in a dialogue as equals.
end, we believe that talks with Beijing should proceed at
a pace and scope that is supported by all of the citizens
of Taiwan. As a democracy, any change in Taiwan's status should
come only with the consent of the people of Taiwan. President
Lee should not feel pressured to negotiate until China is
a democracy, to negotiate a reunification until such time.
expressed our belief that Taiwan should have better international
representation in international bodies and be recognized in
those bodies. The 22 million people of Taiwan deserve this
fundamental right no less than any other global citizen.
we hope that our visit has in some way strengthened our long-standing
bonds of friendship between the United States and Taiwan -
a relationship which is based on our shared commitment to
democracy, to freedom, to respect for human rights and for
a market economy."