On Same Day As President Tsai Ing-Wen’s Stopover In San Francisco, U.S. Representatives Call For Lifting Of All Restrictions On High-Level Visits From Taiwan Including The President
On the very same day, that Taiwan’s democratically elected president Tsai Ing-wen stops over in San Francisco on her way home from South America, Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Brad Sherman (D-CA), plus chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) introduced the “Taiwan Travel Act” today. The binding Taiwan Travel Act legislation declares that “the United States Government should encourage visits between the United States and Taiwan at all levels.” Similar legislation had been introduced in the House and the Senate in September 2016.
The bill states that Congress finds that: “Since the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act, relations between the United States and Taiwan have suffered from a lack of communication due to the self-imposed restrictions that the United States maintains on high-level visits with Taiwan.”
It concludes that: “the United States Government should encourage visits between the United States and Taiwan at all levels.”
Chabot is a long-time Taiwan supporter, and founding co-chair of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus. Sherman is a long-time member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Also, Rep. Chabot has been a long-time advocate of the lifting of all restrictions on high-level visits from and to Taiwan. He often tells the story that he had he would receive then Taipei mayor Chen Shui-bian in his Capitol Hill office, but when Chen became president of Taiwan, Chabot and two dozen of his colleagues had to shuttle back and forth from Washington DC to New York to have dinner with President Chen.
FAPA President Peter Chen states: “With the transit layover of Taiwan’s democratically elected president Tsai Ing-wen in San Francisco today, introduction of this binding legislation is all the more significant. With the new administration in place in Taiwan the time is now for the U.S. to enable Taiwan’s president (among others) to come to Washington DC – without restrictions.”
Peter Chen continues: “We let the unelected leaders of China come to DC whenever they want to and give them the red carpet treatment at the White House with a 21 gun salute. But we shun the democratically elected leaders of long-time ally Taiwan. This is American soil. So it should be the prerogative of the United States ONLY to decide who can visit Washington DC, not the prerogative of the communist leaders in Beijing.”
Peter Chen concludes: “We are encouraged by Senator Ted Cruz’ remarks in Houston last week who said: “The People’s Republic of China needs to understand that in America we make decisions about meeting with visitors for ourselves. This is not about the PRC. This is about the U.S. relationship with Taiwan, an ally we are legally bound to defend. The Chinese do not give us veto power over those with whom they meet. We will continue to meet with anyone, including the Taiwanese, as we see fit.”
To encourage visits between the United States and Taiwan at all levels, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Taiwan Travel Act’’.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following: (1) The Taiwan Relations Act (22 U.S.C. 3301 et seq.), enacted in 1979, has continued for 37 years to be a cornerstone of relations between the United States and Taiwan and has served as an anchor for peace and security in the Western Pacific area.
(2) The Taiwan Relations Act declares that peace and stability in the Western Pacific area are in the political, security, and economic interests of the United States and are matters of international concern.
(3) The United States considers any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States.
(4) Taiwan has succeeded in a momentous transition to democracy beginning in the late 1980s and has been a beacon of democracy in Asia, and Taiwan’s democratic achievements inspire many countries and people in the region.
(5) Visits to a country by United States cabinet members and other high-ranking officials are an indicator of the breadth and depth of ties between the United States and such country.
(6) Since the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act, relations between the United States and Taiwan have suffered from insufficient high-level 24 communication due to the self-imposed restrictions that the United States maintains on high-level visits with Taiwan.
SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS; STATEMENT OF POLICY. (a) SENSE OF CONGRESS.—It is the sense of Congress that the United States Government should encourage visits between officials from the United States and Taiwan at all levels.
(b) STATEMENT OF POLICY.—It should be the policy of the United States to
(1) allow officials at all levels of the United States Government, including cabinet-level national security officials, general officers, and other executive branch officials, to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts;
(2) allow high-level officials of Taiwan to enter the United States, under conditions which demonstrate appropriate respect for the dignity of such officials, and to meet with officials of the United States, including officials from the Department of State and the Department of Defense and other cabinet agencies; and
(3) [encourage/support] the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, and any other instrumentality established by Taiwan, to conduct business in the United States, including activities which involve participation by Members of Congress, officials of Federal, State, or local governments of the United States, or any high-level official of Taiwan