House Committee On Foreign Affairs Unanimously Passes Taiwan Policy Act
On November 17, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to strengthen the U.S. commitment to Taiwan’s security.
The passage of HR 2918, as introduced by Committee chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) on September 14, 2011 was a clear signal that House members on both sides of the aisle not only forcefully support Taiwan’s self-defense capability, but also a list of over 20 other provisions that will broaden and deepen the bilateral relationship between the United States and Taiwan in various ways, including trade and commercial ties, participation in international organizations, and through the sale of defensive arms.
Most importantly, the bill provides that the 1982 Six Assurances continue to be a core component of U.S. foreign policy and reaffirms the principle that the future of Taiwan must be determined in a peaceful manner and with the assent of the people of Taiwan. (See: excerpted bill highlights below)
During the mark-up hearing, Committee Members stressed the importance of re-articulating America’s commitment to Taiwan.
Committee chair Ros-Lehtinen stated: “The bill considered and adopted today will help ensure that Taiwan’s peace, prosperity and security will be maintained for the next three decades and beyond.”
She added “Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s comments last month in Bali that we gave Beijing a “heads up” before the formal announcement on arms sales to Taiwan raises further concern about adherence to the Taiwan Relations Act and Ronald Reagan’s Six Assurances.”
Top Democrat on the Committee Rep. Howard Berman stated: “I am a strong supporter of Taiwan, and both of these bills will bolster our bilateral relationship with an important friend and ally.”
“This is a powerful signal to the people of Taiwan, and the Taiwanese-American community in the U.S.,” states Prof. Bob Yang, President of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs. “While the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) has been the cornerstone of U.S.-Taiwan relations for over 30 years; the Taiwan Policy Act aligns the TRA with the developments in these past decades, and will go on to act as the firm foundation of this critical relationship for the next 30 years.”
“We commend the committee for its leadership in recognizing the importance of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship for peace and stability in the Asia Pacific, and in safeguarding that values of freedom and democracy that the people of Taiwan share with their American friends,””Yang said, adding that “FAPA will be devoting its full ranges of resources to ensure that this historic piece of legislation passes into law.”
H.R. 2992, the Taiwan Airpower Modernization Act was also passed in the session.
台灣政策法案 (HR 2918) 是在今年9月14日，由佛羅里達州共和黨籍眾議員羅絲雷緹南(Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL))所提出，今天在委員會獲共和、民主黨兩方眾議院成員一致通過，清楚表明了對台灣的共識和支持。他們不僅強力支持台灣的自我防衛能力，也支持超過20項其他將深化及廣化美台雙邊關係的條文，包括商務來往、國際組織參與，及軍售防衛性武器。
她並說明:「國防部長帕內塔(Leon Panetta)上月在峇里島作出評論，指出我們在正式宣布對台軍購前，提先知會(heads up)北京。這讓人不禁憂心我們是否仍遵守台灣關係法及雷根總統的『六項保證』。」
委員會中最資深的民主黨眾議員柏曼(Rep. Howard Berman)指出:「我是台灣強力的支持者，而這些法案將會增進我們與重要盟友的雙邊關係。」
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TAIWAN POLICY ACT HIGHLIGHTS
Sec. 2(3) – “”The future of Taiwan must be determined in a peaceful manner and with the assent of the people of Taiwan.””
Sec. 2(14) – Asserts that the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) or any other cross-strait economic agreements “”shall not diminish in any degree the requirement contained in the Act to ‘maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force….””
Sec. 2(17) – Expands trade ties by including Taiwan in an “”expanded Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement or similar mechanism””
Sec. 101(4) – TECRO “”and all other instrumentalities established by Taiwan, including the Twin Oaks Estate, may conduct official business activities, including activities which involve participation by Members of the United States Congress and other representatives of the Federal, State, and local governments, without any impediment from the United States Government or any foreign power.””
Sec. 201 – Establishes policy of encouraging visits by cabinet-level officials between the U.S. and Taiwan.
Sec. 103 – Removes current restrictions on high-level visits going both ways, and permit use of U.S. executive facilities to conduct meetings
(4) – Support Taiwan’s decision to change TECRO name to “”Taiwan Representative Office.””
Sec. 104 – Requires Senate confirmation of the Director of the American Institute in Taiwan
Sec. 105 – Directs the executive branch to negotiate and conclude a comprehensive Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance agreements with Taiwan.
Sec. 106 – Reaffirms the Six Assurances of 1982.
Sec. 108 – Requires detailed steps to assist Taiwan in moving toward meaningful participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Sec. 201(a) – Clarifies that the determining defense articles to be made available for sale to Taiwan based on factors other than Taiwan’s defense needs violates the congressional intent of TRA Section 3(b).
Sec. 301 – Includes Taiwan into the Visa Waiver Program upon satisfaction of the legal and procedural requirements..
Sec. 302 – States the sense of Congress that USTR should “”seek to resume and successfully conclude negotiations of economic issues”” in TIFA.
Sec. 303 – States the sense of Congress that the conclusion of an FTA is the “”ultimate goal of trade negotiations with Taiwan.””