U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES UNANIMOUSLY PASSES TAIWAN TRAVEL ACT

Today, on January 9, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives 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) introduced the Taiwan Travel Act on January 13, 2017.

The binding Taiwan Travel Act legislation 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.”

Besides bill introducer Steve Chabot, the bill currently enjoys the co-sponsorship of 80 members of Congress, such as House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Asian Subcommittee chairman Ted Yoho (R-FL), Asian Subcommittee ranking member Brad Sherman (D-CA), former House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX). Chabot himself is a long-time Taiwan supporter, former chairman of the Asian Subcommittee and founding co-chair of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus.

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. The bill currently enjoys the co-sponsorship of 7 Senators.
During the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on October 12, 2017, Rep. Chabot added: “This policy is nonsense. The US has a legal and moral commitment to defend democratic Taiwan. So, this policy goes against our own self-interest. It is time to end this outlandish and outdated policy.”

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) said: “We should welcome Taiwanese officials here. Taiwan deserves more attention. We must build stronger ties with our allies in Taiwan.”

Bill introducer Brad Sherman (D-CA): “The president of Taiwan cannot visit Washington DC. But she can refuel in Los Angeles. What an absurd fiction. It is time for us to grow up. Taiwan’s most important leaders should be able to come to DC and talk to the Legislative and Executive Branch. Every year China threatens Taiwan. What is the mildest the US can do to these ongoing provocative actions? Passing the Taiwan Travel Act.”

Former House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL): “We are harming and insulting an ally with these restrictions. And we give China a veto over our policy decisions. Who we choose to meet with is OUR sovereign right. I hope the administration will reverse these damaging policies.”

Bill introducer, Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH): “One of the most important improvements we can make in US-Taiwan relations is letting the president of Taiwan visit Washington DC. These restrictions are not only insulting, they are counterproductive. They are outdated and it is time for a change.”

FAPA President Peter Chen states:  “Today’s passage of the Taiwan Travel Act continues the momentum of the signing into law of the National Defense Authorization Act on December 12 which, among other issues, lists the Taiwan Relations Act and the “Six Assurances” as continuing US legal commitments. It is good to see that the vilified three communiques are more and more relegated to the ash heap of history – where they belong.”

Peter Chen adds: “Today is a momentous day with the unanimous passage of the Taiwan Travel Act. The action now moves to the Senate where we will do whatever we can to make sure it passes as well; sooner rather than later. ”

Peter Chen concludes: “The United States and Taiwan are allies that share common values and the removal of these self-imposed restrictions will promote greater cooperation between the two nations and enhance mutual economic, political, and security interests.”

Peter Chen adds: “Taiwanese Americans are especially grateful to bill introducers Reps. Chabot, Royce and Sherman and to all other members of Congress that have been part of this success story.”

On the same day, HR3320, directing the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to regain observer status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization, was also passed unanimously by the House of Representatives.

 


眾議院無異議通過台灣旅行法

今日,2018年1月9日,美國眾議院無異議通過台灣旅行法(HR535)。

這個法案在去年1月13日由眾議員夏波(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9月在眾議院和參議院同時提出。
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。」

除了提案的夏波議員之外,這項法案總共有高達80位國會議員共同連署,包含眾議院外交事務委員會主席羅伊斯議員、外交委員會亞太事務小組主席約霍議員(R-FL)、亞太事務小組副主席薛曼議員(D-CA)、外交事務委員會前任主席蘿斯蕾婷娜議員(R-FL),以及法案委員會主席賽軒議員(R-TX)。夏波議員自身則是台灣長年以來的堅定支持者,也是前任亞太事務小組主席,與國會台灣連線的共同發起人與共同主席。

在2017年的5月4日,美國參議院的魯比歐參議員(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」。這項法案目前共有7位參議員連署。

在2017年10月12日眾院外交事務委員會的聽證會上,夏波議員補充道:「現今的的政策簡直是胡扯。美國在法律上、道德上皆對台灣有承諾,承諾捍衛民主的台灣;而現今的政策與美國的利益完全悖離。是時候終結這項不合時宜的政策了,而台灣旅行法正是絕佳的新起點。」

眾議院進行台灣旅行法辯論時,眾議院外交事務委員會主席羅伊斯議員提到:「我們應該歡迎台灣高層官員來訪。台灣值得更多美國的關注。我們必須與我們的盟友—台灣建立更強韌的連結。」

提案人薛曼議員提到:「台灣總統不能來訪華府,但是可以在洛杉磯過境加油—多麼荒謬的機制啊!是我們該長大的時候了;是時候讓台灣的重要領袖們來訪華府,與我們的立法和行政部門溝通了。每一年中國都在威脅台灣,對於這些不間斷的挑釁行為,美國能做的最溫和的舉動是什麼呢?那就是通過台灣旅行法。」

外交事務委員會前任主席蘿斯蕾婷娜議員說:「維持這項禁令,會是持續地傷害並侮辱我們的盟友。與誰碰面應該是我們的主權。我希望政府可以扭轉這些破壞性的政策。」

提案人,夏波議員說:「關於台美關係,我們能夠做出最重要的改變便是讓台灣總統來訪華府。這些限制不只侮辱人,更是非常沒有生產力的。它們已經過時,是時候做出改變了。」

台灣人公共事務會會長陳正義說:「今日台灣旅行法的通過,延續了十二月十二日國防授權法案通過的能量,該法案提到台灣關係法與『六項保證』為美國對台的法定承諾。我們很高興三個公報漸漸走入歷史的餘燼—它們適得其所。」

陳正義強調:「台灣旅行法無異議地通過是一項重大的里程碑。接下來FAPA將會向參議院倡議,盡全力確保台灣旅行法盡快在參議院通過。」

他也特別提到,「台美人尤其感謝提案的夏波、羅伊斯與薛曼議員,以及所有支持這項法案的國會議員。」

陳正義如此做結:「美國與台灣是享有共同價值的盟友,去除高層互訪的限制可以促進兩個國家在經濟、政治、區域安全等層面進一步的合作。」

在同一日,一項指示國務卿發展策略協助台灣在世界衛生組織取得觀察員身分的法案( HR3320) 也在眾議院無異議地通過。

(January 9, 2018) US House of Representatives Unanimously Passes Taiwan Travel Act / 眾議院無異議通過台灣旅行法
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