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    Statement from Sen. Kohl

May 16, 2000


Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, this week I join people in Wisconsin and across the nation in celebrating Taiwanese-American Heritage Week. This week of celebration, from May 7 to May 14, honors the many diverse contributions of over 500,000 Taiwanese-Americans in the United States. These Americans have contributed significantly to our social fabric, making notable contributions as medical professionals, Nobel Laureate scientists, business owners, human rights activists, and teachers.

While it is important to recognize the achievements of Taiwanese-Americans in the United States, Taiwanese-American Heritage Week also gives us the opportunity to celebrate the success of democracy in Taiwan. Since the lifting of martial law in 1987, Taiwan has made consistent strides toward becoming an open, democratic society where freedoms are respected and the will of the people is observed. To the credit of the many Taiwanese-Americans who fought to bring democratic principles back to the island, Taiwan is now a vibrant democratic member of the international community.

With the recent election of opposition leader Chen Shui-bian as President, Taiwan has again reaffirmed its commitment to the open electoral process that is the cornerstone of democracy. While this election bodes well for the future of a democratic Taiwan, many challenges remain. Taiwan must continue to resist internal anti-democratic forces, while also providing for its own security in a region with too few democratic neighbors. However, I am confident that Taiwan will meet these challenges and continue to play a productive role in the international community.

Mr. President, Taiwanese-American Heritage Week properly recognizes the longstanding friendship between the United States and Taiwan. Once again, I commend the accomplishments and on-going contributions of the Taiwanese-American community.

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