House Asian Subcommittee Unanimously Passes Taiwan Travel Act
Today, on June 15, 2017, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs unanimously passed the Taiwan Travel Act (HR535).
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH), Brad Sherman (D-CA), and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) had introduced the Taiwan Travel Act on January 13, 2017.
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.
Besides bill introducer, Steve Chabot, the bill enjoys the co-sponsorship of Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Ted Poe (R-TX) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) & Doug LaMalfa (R-CA). (Chabot is a long-time Taiwan supporter, and founding co-chair of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus. Sherman and Royce are senior members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Diaz-Balart is current Taiwan Caucus co-chair)
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.”
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 received 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.
On May 4, 2017, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced the Taiwan Travel Act in the Senate.
In mid-January 2017, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) stated that: “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.”
FAPA President Peter Chen states: “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. With the new administration in place in the U.S. and in Taiwan the time is now for the U.S. to enable Taiwan’s president (among others) to come to Washington DC – without restrictions.”
眾議院亞太小組無異議通過「台灣旅行法」
今天六月15日,美國眾議院外交委員會亞太事務小組無異議通過「台灣旅行法」(HR535)
 
這個法案是在今年初一月由眾議員夏波(R-OH)、薛爾曼(D-CA),和外交委員會主席羅伊斯議員(R-CA)共同提出。
 
「台灣旅行法」是具有國會約束力的法案,它明確指出「美國政府應鼓勵美國和台灣在各個層面上進行訪問」。類似的決議案曾於2016年九月在眾議院和參議院同時提出。
 
除了法案原始提案人夏波議員,它至表決前有十位連署議員,包括羅伊斯議員(R-CA)、薛爾曼(D-CA)、艾許(D-CA)、魏格納(R-MO)、約霍(R-FL)、蘿絲蕾婷娜(R-FL)、比格斯(R-AZ)、柏吾(R-TX)狄亞士巴拉(R-FL)和拉瑪法(R-CA)。其中,夏波議員是長期台灣的支持者,也是國會台灣連線的原始共同發起人、薛爾曼(D-CA)和羅伊斯議員(R-CA)是外交委員會的資深議員,而狄亞士巴拉特則是現任台灣連線的共同主席。
這項法案提到,美國國會認為「自從台灣關係法制定後,由於美國自身對於台灣高層訪美的自我設限,台灣與美國始終缺乏有效的溝通,顯著地阻礙了台美關係的發展。」因此,作為結論,「美國政策理應當促進美國與台灣之間所有層級的互訪。」
 
夏波議員長期以來主張取消對台灣高層訪問的一切限制。他最常引用的例子就是,他當時在國會山莊接待時任台北市的市長陳水扁,後來陳水扁市長當選為台灣總統,卻因台美高層互訪的限制,夏波和十幾位議員同事卻需要從華盛頓特區搭機到紐約,與陳總統共進晚餐。
2017年的五月4日,六位參議員魯比歐參議員(R-FL)、布朗參議員(D-OH)、殷荷菲參議員(R-OK)梅南德茲參議員(D-NJ)、賈德納參議員(R-CO)以及彼德斯參議員(D-MI)共同提出參議院版的「台灣旅行法」。
2017年度的一月中旬,克魯茲參議員說到:中華人民共和國需要明白,在美國,我們會自己決定與那些訪客會面。這不是針對中華人民共和國。 這是關於美國與台灣的關係,是我們在法律上有必須捍衛的盟友。 中國人對我們與誰會面沒有決定或否決權。我們會繼續與包括台灣人在內的任何人見面。」
 
台灣人公共事務會(FAPA)會長陳正義說到:「我們讓中國的獨裁領袖們隨時可以來到華府,還在白宮用紅毯禮遇及21響禮炮歡迎:而對台灣,一個長久的盟友,卻對盟友的民選領袖避而不見。這裡是美國領土。應該只有美國有權力來決定誰可以訪問華府,而不是北京的共產領袖可以有權決定的。隨著美國和台灣的新政府到位,現在正是美國讓台灣的總統及其他高層官員來到華盛頓特區自由訪問的最佳時機。」
(June 15,2017) House Asian Subcommittee Unanimously Passes Taiwan Travel Act / 眾議院亞太小組無異議通過「台灣旅行法」
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