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    Congressman Wexler's Remarks at the International Inter-Parliamentary Conference

January 17, 2003

Congressman Wexler addresses the International Inter-Parliamentary Conference on Asian Pacific Security

It is an honor and privilege to be in Taiwan and participate in the first International Inter-Parliamentary Conference on Asian Pacific Security. I would like to thank President Chen for hosting this historic event and demonstrating bold leadership, vision and resolve.


Mr. President, the future of Taiwan has never been brighter, and the outpouring of friendship and support here today serves as a testament to your leadership and the uncompromising spirit of the Taiwanese people. The United States is deeply appreciative for its unique relationship with Taiwan, and especially appreciative of you Mr. President for your lifelong commitment to democracy, justice, human rights and the pursuit of peace.


I would like to recognize Former President Lee, Vice-President Lu, Premier Shyi-kun, Foreign Minister Chien and Speaker Wang for their unwavering leadership, and I would also like to thank Mr. Trong Chai President of the ROC-USA Inter-Parliamentary Amity Association for spearheading this unprecedented event.


I would like to welcome the parliamentarians who have traveled from across the globe remarkably, from 15 different countries to demonstrate their commitment to Asian Pacific security, prosperity and progress. Your presence here sends an unequivocal message of unity, friendship and cooperation and exemplifies our shared vision for a future of peace.


I would also like to recognize my colleagues who have traveled from Washington to be with us, marking the inaugural visit of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus. I am proud to announce that since its inception in April 2002, our caucus has evolved into the second largest and fastest growing caucus in the United States House of Representatives, illustrating widespread congressional support for the strategic U.S.-Taiwan partnership.


I want to thank Caucus co-Chairmen Steve Chabot and Dana Rohrabacher and Representatives Solomon Ortiz, Shelly Berkley, Gil Gutknecht, Cliff Stearns, former Chairman of the International Relations Committee Ben Gillman, and former Member of Congress Steve Solarz for leading efforts in Washington to renew America's commitment to the future of Taiwan and stability in the Asian Pacific region.


From the standpoint of the United States, this conference could not have come at a more critical time, given the escalating tensions in the region, increased proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the threat of a nuclearized North Korea and increased terror throughout the globe. At a time when the future remains rife with uncertainty, we have come together to demonstrate that the unity of free and democratic nations is essential to defeating the scourge of terror.


We have also come together to recognize the remarkable growth and progress of Taiwan. In the past decade, Taiwan has blossomed into a strong and dynamic democracy the first in over 5,000 years of Chinese history. Taiwan has experienced unprecedented economic, political and social growth, culminating with its entry into the World Trade Organization this past year. Taiwan has energetically joined the campaign against international terrorism and has assisted the effort to rebuild Afghanistan in a post-Taliban regime. However, Taiwan is not resting on its past achievements. Mr. President, in your New Year's Day message, you eloquently stated the case for additional financial, educational, judicial and political reform for your nation.

Now more than ever, Taiwan's friends and allies have responsibilities to assist Taiwan in her quest to become an even stronger democracy and with greater prosperity. As we embark on a new year, it must be the goal of all nations represented here to advocate for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the International Civil Aviation Organization. It is unconscionable that 23 million Taiwanese are precluded from receiving the benefits of membership status in the WHO.


We must call upon the nations represented here to promote increased trade and economic relations with Taiwan and join the United States in its unwavering commitment to Taiwan's security and defense. All of us must demand that the future of Taiwan be resolved peacefully, with the express consent of the people of Taiwan.


I would again like to thank all of you for participating in this historic conference that will strengthen Taiwan, enhance the security of Asia and pave the way for continued regional development and growth. I would also like to offer my sincere appreciation to President Chen and the people of Taiwan, who have overcome great odds to become a beacon of freedom, prosperity and hope.


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