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.”
在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。」