April 9, 2002
group of 85 Members of the House of Representatives inaugurated
the Congressional Taiwan Caucus on April 9th
to explore ways to positively enhance and strengthen U.S.
relations and cooperation with the government and people
of Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act.
Caucus will also serve as a forum to educate members of
Congress on issues affecting US-Taiwan relations as well
as play a constructive role in monitoring and supporting
peaceful cross-strait discussions between Taipei and Beijing,"
said Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL). "Finally, the caucus
will serve as a medium by which legislators from the United
States and Taiwan can formally exchange ideas and policy
Members noted that U.S. policy regarding the Taiwan Strait
issue calls for a peaceful, mutually acceptable resolution
of this question, and, because Taiwan is a democracy, a
resolution that has the consent of the people of Taiwan.
Because Taiwan is such a thriving democracy, the CTC wishes
to deepen its dialogue with the people of the island and
their elected representatives.
Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said that the CTC would serve both
the people of the US and the people of Taiwan. The message
"to those dictators in China" is "keep your
bloody hands off of Taiwan. If we get that message across,
it will be worth all the trouble."
Ben Gilman (R-NY) stated that he viewed Taiwan as an "independent
nation" and thanked Taiwan for "standing fully
with us in the war on terrorism. We need more friendly and
faithful allies like Taiwan during these critical days."
Gilman said he would like to see both PRC and Taiwan representatives
invited to the US for a dialogue that might bring about
a peaceful resolution of the cross-strait issue.
Trong Chai, head of a delegation from Taiwan's Legislative
Yuan, welcomed the inauguration of the CTC, stating, "In
Taiwan we have established the Taiwan-US Inter-Parliamentary
Amity Association to ensure that a full expression of the
opinions of the people of Taiwan is clearly heard by the
Caucus and that an on-going discussion of issues of joint
concern will work to the benefit of the national interests
of our two great countries."
day-long inaugural celebration opened with a FAPA-hosted
symposium. The first symposium panel discussed the Taiwan
Relations Act. Amb. Harvey Feldman, as the State Department's
official in charge of the TRA, gave background on the development
of the legislation. Amb. Nat Bellocchi noted that the TRA
had been very successful and stated that he didn't agree
with those who wanted to change the current law. Bellocchi
did note, however, that changes can and should be made to
US policy, particularly regarding Taiwan's engagement in
international organizations, codification of the "six
assurances, and a stronger consultative role for Congress
in Taiwan policy. TECRO Representative C.J. Chen stated
that while the TRA has proven to be unique, practical, flexible
and durable, and current US policy is very good, Taiwan
still was not satisfied. "We would rather have formal
diplomatic ties," Rep. Chen said clearly. "Then
Taiwan could contribute much more" to the international
second symposium panel was an opportunity for a dialogue
between Members of the US Congress and the visiting Taiwanese
Legislative Yuan delegation. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
underscored the importance of Taiwan's democracy and the
importance of democratic countries standing together in
the fight against terrorism. "We will not forget Taiwan,
even though we are going through a war effort," he
declared. "You are an example of what a free people
can do and an example to China."
Steve Chabot (R-OH) said that the Caucus was "long
overdue" and also focused on the importance of Taiwan's
democracy and the common interests between Taiwan and the
US. Hsiao Bi-khim, spokesperson for the Taiwanese Legislative
delegation, listed several areas of interest to the delegation
- further cooperation in bilateral trade and the overall
US-Taiwan economic relationship, including a possible Free
Trade Agreement; further joint efforts toward Taiwan's participation
in international organizations; support for high level participation
in the coming APEC meeting in Mexico; joint efforts to promote
democracy in Asia and challenge the myth that Asian values
and democracy don't mix; and moving beyond security "hardware"
- weapons systems per se, to improved "software"
issues - operational training and communications.
Sherrod Brown (D-OH) noted that his key focus was on getting
Taiwan observer status in the WHO. Mr. Brown spoke eloquently
of the need for Taiwan to join the WHO and also of what
Taiwan could offer the WHO because of its strong medical
is truly an historic occasion," stated Wu Ming-chi,
FAPA President. "From the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979
to the present, Congress has been very supportive of Taiwan.
However, the establishment of the CTC provides a vital communication
channel that will allow the aspirations of the Taiwanese
people to have an even clearer, louder voice. A better understanding
of the reality of Taiwan today is key to an informed U.S.
policy toward this great democratic friend and coalition
partner in the fight against terrorism."