Steve Chabot (R-OH) remarks Taipei - January 17, 2003
President Lee, my parliamentary colleagues, friends and
Thank you for the very kind introduction. I am absolutely
delighted to be here with you this evening on my first trip
to what Dutch sailors called “Isla Formosa”, or
First, let me say what an honor it is to be sharing the dais
with Taiwan’s first popularly elected President, His
Excellency Lee Teng-hui. We are very happy to be with you
and we know that your countrymen greatly appreciated the
work you have done for your nation.
I come as a founding leader of the United States
Congressional Taiwan Caucus, a bipartisan group that seeks
to build on our long, established friendship with Taiwan,
and works to promote an American foreign policy that
recognizes that friendship.
I am joined by my colleagues from the Caucus: founding
Co-Chairmen Robert Wexler, from Florida, and Dana
Rohrabacher, from California-both longtime and loyal friends
of Taiwan-and our colleagues Congresswoman Shelly Berkeley,
from Nevada, Congressmen Cliff Stearns, from Florida,
Solomon Ortiz, from Texas, and Gil Gutknecht, from
Minnesota. We are also delighted to be joined by two
distinguished former Members of Congress, Steve Solarz of
New York, and the Chairman Emeritus of the International
Relations Committee, our great friend Ben Gilman. I know I
can speak for all of them when I thank you for your warm
hospitality and friendship.
The Congressional Taiwan Caucus now boasts over 100 members
of Congress who agree that the security of Taiwan is
important to all of us and will continue to work within the
Congress and with our President to ensure that United States
policies will promote peace and stability in the Taiwan
I am very lucky to have a number of Taiwanese-American
friends in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio-who, like fellow
Taiwanese Americans throughout the United States, have made
significant contributions that can be found in every facet
of American life-in the arts and science, in medicine, in
research and education, and in business. It is a very
impressive record that all American can point to with pride.
I have a very dear friend from Cincinnati who is here with
us today, and I want to give him special recognition. Dr.
C.T. Lee first came to visit me before I was elected to
Congress. He is a highly-respected neurosurgeon and a leader
in shouthwestern Ohio’s Taiwanese-American community. He
was one of those few folks in Cincinnati who believed that I
would win my race against an incumbent Congressman. I’m
now beginning my fifth term in Congress and C.T. Lee is
still providing me with invaluable advice and counsel. We
have spent much quality time together in Cincinnati and
it’s great to be with him now in Taipei. My Taiwanese
friends here today should know that he is an outstanding
representative for your great nation in the United States.
As many of you know, we inaugurated the Congressional Taiwan
Caucus on the anniversary of the signing of the Taiwan
Relations Act. Our prupose was to reaffirm the United States
commitment to Taiwan, and to strengthen that friendship and
Taiwan is unique.
It is a trusted ally.
It is a thriving democracy which is situated right next door
to the world’s largest dictatorship.
With a population of only 23 million people. it is the
world’s 17th largest economy, and our 7th largest export
Since the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, when the
United States suffered its worst terrorist attach, Taiwan
has been a major supporter of American domestic relief
efforts. It has also been a significant donor to Afghanistan
relief efforts. We in the Congress recognize and appreciated
Where do we go from here? First, the United States
government must support the strides that Taiwan has made in
establishing a peaceful Taiwan. And we must make is
absolutely clear that issued between Taipei and Beijing must
be resolved peacefully and with the consent of the people of
The United States Congress can and should take steps to
assist Taiwan in its bids for memberships in international
organizations, such as the World Health Organization.
Taiwan’s achievements in the fired of health are
substantial, including one of the highest life expectancy
levels in Asia, maternal and infant mortality rates
comparably to those of western countries, the eradication of
such infectious diseases as cholera, smallpox, and the
plaque, and the first to eradicate polio and provide
children with hepatitis B vaccinations.
A member of us have supported efforts in the Congress to
promote Taiwan’s involvement with the WHO, and we will
against be joining our colleague Congressman Sherrod Brown,
another co-founder of the Taiwan Caucus, in introducing
legislation to initiate a United States plan to endorse and
obtain observer status for Taiwan at the annual week-long
summit of the World Health Assembly in May 2003 in Geneva,
Switzerland and to instruct the United States delegation to
Geneva to implement that plan.
Early next week, I will be traveling to Tokyo to meet with
Japanese cabinet officials and I will be carrying a letter
to the Prime Minister from the four co-chairmen of the
Caucus, encouraging to the Japanese government to work with
our government in an effort to secure Taiwanese observer
status at the Assembly. Observer status for Taiwan should
unite rather than divide the world community; the right to
good health has no boundaries.
We can also help our friends here by ensuring that Taiwan
has the means to defend itself against aggression and we
will continue to support U.S. efforts to enhance that
security. The Taiwan Relations Act states that it is the
policy of the United States to declare that peace and
stability in the region are in the political, security, and
economic interests of the United States, and to maintain the
capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force
or other form of coercion that would jeopardize the
security, or the social or economic system, of the people of
Taiwan. The United States Congress continues to support the
Taiwan Relations Act.
Peace and stability in East Asia is only possible if the
democratic rights of the people of Taiwan and other nations
in the region are respected. Continued United States support
of the democratic movement will ensure the ability of the
pole of Taiwan to exercise their right of
I want to thank all of you for your kindness and courtesy.
He gracious hospitality of the Taiwan people is everything I
was told to expect. And I know I can speak for all of my
colleagues when I tell you how much we appreciate you having
us to here to visit.
We’re pleased to make many new friends and to renew
friendships with our old friends. And we look forward to
seeing all of you again in Washington. And we especially
look forward to the day when your President can make his
first official visit to our nations Capital.
God bless all of you. And thank you again for having us.
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