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.

眾議院外交委員會一致通過台灣政策法案

1117日美國眾議院外交委員會,全體一致通過加強美國對台安全責任的法案。

台灣政策法案 (HR 2918) 是在今年914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。

最重要的是,該法案確保1982年的「六項保證」將繼續為美國外交政策核心的一部分,並再次重申台灣的未來必須以和平方式解決,並獲台灣人民同意的原則。(請見法案重點摘取如下)

在法案審議聽證會中,委員會成員皆強調並重申美國對台灣承諾的重要性。

外交委員會主席羅絲雷緹南表示:「今天被討論並通過的法案,將會協助確保台灣在未來三十年及之後的和平、繁榮及安全被維持。」

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。」

台灣人公共事務會會長楊英育博士表示:「這對台灣人民及在美國的台美人社區來說,是個強而有力的信息。過去的30年以來,臺灣關係法(TRA)為美台關係的基石; 而台灣政策法案則是導入過去數十年的新發展,使其與台灣關係法齊行,並將成為未來30年兩國重要關係的基礎。」

他並補充:「我們表彰委員會在承認美台關係於亞太地區和平及穩定的重要性,所展現的領導力,及為保障台灣人民與美國友人共享的自由民主價值所作出的努力。台灣人公共事務會將使用其所有資源,確保此歷史性的法案被通過並成為法律。」

HR2992法案,「台灣空軍軍力現代化法案」也於同一聽證會獲得一致通過。

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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.””

(November 17, 2011) House Committee On Foreign Affairs Unanimously Passes Taiwan Policy Act / 眾議院外交委員會一致通過台灣政策法案