President Chen Shui-bian (
"The Taiwan Affairs Act has passed first reading in the Canadian parliament and will be soon be put to second reading. We warmly welcome any move that can help strengthen substantive Taiwan-Canadian ties," Chen said while receiving a Canadian parliamentarian delegation at the Presidential Office.
The delegation included Canadian MPs from across the political spectrum: Peter Adams, an Ontario Liberal; Garry Breitkreuz, a Saskatchewan Conservative; Navdeep Bains, an Ontario Liberal; Lui Temelkovski, an Ontario Liberal; Mark Holland, an Ontario Liberal; James Bezan, a Manitoba Conservative; and Guy Cote from Bloc Quebecois.
Chen expressed gratitude to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin for telling Chinese President Hu Jintao (
The Canadians did not have an immediate reponse to Chen's requests.
However, they said that they had been impressed by Taiwan's achievements in democratization and promised, upon their return to Canada, to strengthen relations between Taiwan and Canada.
The Taiwan Affairs Act was introduced by the House of Commons on April 4 by Jim Abbot, a Conservative member from British Columbia. It copied several provisions from the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) signed by the US Congress in 1979, but does not contain the defense clause that exists in the TRA.
The bill would apply to Taiwan all Canadian laws governing relations with foreign governments, back Taiwan joining international organizations, urge China to de-militarize the Taiwan Strait, and allow Canada to issue visas to Taiwanese residents and officials.
Current Canadian policy upholds the "one China" policy, which regards Taiwan as a Chinese province, and bars Taiwan's leaders from visiting Canada.
On Sept. 9, Hu -- in his talks with Martin in Ottawa -- warned Canada not to pass the Taiwan Affairs Act because it would hurt Beijing-Ottawa ties.
China has warned foreign countries not to launch official ties with Taiwan, including receiving Taiwanese officials or passing laws on Taiwan.
Additional reporting by Chiu Yu-tzu