FAPA Applauds Introduction Of Taiwan Policy Act
On Wednesday, September 14, the Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), introduced a landmark piece of legislation aimed at significantly enhancing the U.S.-Taiwan alliance.
With five bipartisan co-sponsors including Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Dan Burton (R-IN), Edward Royce (R-CA), Steve Chabot (R-OH), and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), the Taiwan Policy Act of 2011 provides a comprehensive legal framework for the continuation and expansion of the longstanding bilateral relationship.
Announcing the introduction of the bill at a reception hosted by FAPA in honor of Dr. Tsai Ing-wen, Chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said that “”It is a particularly auspicious day for you to be here, for today I had the honor of introducing the Taiwan Policy Act.””
The Congresswoman went on to elaborate that the bill “calls for Taiwan to be provided as soon as possible with the next generation of F-16 fighters to defend the skies over the Taiwan Strait” and “looks forward to a free trade agreement between our two economies.”
Highlighting yet another provision of the bill, Ros-Lehtinen said “I am pleased to have the opportunity to present to you, Chairwoman Tsai, with this flag which flew over the Capitol. The Taiwan Policy Act assures that both Taiwan’s flag and the Stars and Stripes will proudly fly over our respective offices in Taipei and Washington for years and decades to come. And those proudly waving flags will serve to demonstrate the enduring ties of friendship that bind our two peoples.”
In a separate statement, the Congresswoman said that “Taiwan is one of our closest and most important allies, and it is time again for our foreign policy to reflect that. This legislation seeks to reverse the pattern of neglect and inattention by the Obama Administration toward critical U.S.-Taiwan issues.”
“China must not be allowed to dictate U.S. policy in the Pacific. The Taiwan Relations Act continues to be the bedrock of U.S. policy in the region and this bill will help to reinforce it, and strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan alliance,” the statement continues.
The newly introduced bill seeks to clarify the congressional intent behind the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 as well as reaffirm Reagan’s Six Assurances by “”strengthen[ing] Congressional oversight of defense transfers to Taiwan.”” It would also lift current restrictions on visits to the U.S. by high level Taiwanese officials and commit the U.S. administration to helping Taiwan gain meaningful participation in international organizations.
Above all, the bill establishes that “the future of Taiwan must be determined in a peaceful manner and with the assent of the people of Taiwan.”
In reaction, FAPA President Bob Yang , PhD, said that “This bill is one of the most significant piece of legislation to address U.S.-Taiwan relations over the past decades and, if passed, will greatly bolster Taiwan’s ability to preserve its freedom of action in the international community.”
Yang continued that “We at FAPA will mobilize our members all over the United States to help make sure that Congress passes this important piece of legislation to help make sure that the bill becomes law at the earliest opportunity.”