Thu, Feb 26, 2009 - Page 1 News List

US resolution would reaffirm commitment to TRA

HISTORIC JUNCTURE The introduction of the resolution to defend Taiwan’s liberty coincided with the death of one of Taiwan’s champions in the US, Harvey Feldman

By William Lowther AND Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTERS IN WASHINGTON AND TAIPEI

In a move reflecting enormous goodwill, 17 members of US Congress have introduced a resolution offering uncompromising support for the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) to mark the upcoming 30th anniversary of its enactment.

The resolution reaffirms “unwavering commitment” to the TRA and “supports the strong and deepening relationship between the US and Taiwan.”

It was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and insiders said it was “almost certain” to pass well before the April 10 anniversary.

“By introducing this resolution at this historic juncture, members of Congress have voiced their firm commitment and strong support for Taiwan,” a spokesman for the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington (TECRO) said.

“This is of profound significance to US-ROC [Republic of China] relations,” he said.

The resolution was sponsored by representatives Shelley Berkley, a Nevada Democrat, and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican, the co-chairs of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus.

The cosponsors included Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican and ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, nine Democrats and five other Republicans.

Congressional analysts said the resolution was important in that it would act as a reminder to Congress of its significant commitments to Taiwan, while reaffirming them at the same time.

The resolution also leads the way in inviting the administration of US President Barack Obama to offer similar support.

The TRA was passed in 1979 and affirmed that the US decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China was based on the expectation that the future of Taiwan would be determined by peaceful means.

The new resolution specifically draws attention to how the TRA commits the US to providing “defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.”

It also recalls that the TRA makes it the policy of the US to maintain Taiwan’s capacity to resist force or other forms of coercion that would “jeopardize the security or the social or economic system of the people of Taiwan.”

DEATH OF FELDMAN

In related news, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday lamented the sudden passing of Harvey Feldman, a US career diplomat who was one of the original drafters of the TRA and the key man behind the Six Assurances, two landmark documents that defined Taiwan-US relations after the two countries broke ties in 1979.

Feldman was 78 when he died of an aortic dissection at Washington Hospital Center.

Senior TECRO officials are expected to pay condolences to Feldman’s family at a memorial service today.

Describing Feldman as a “longtime supporter and dear friend to Taiwan,” Harry Tseng (曾厚仁), director-general of the ministry’s Department of North American Affairs, said his passing was a shock to those who knew him well.

“Just last week he attended a forum in Washington. He has also accepted invitations to speak at forums held by various think tanks on the topic of the 30th anniversary of the ratification of TRA,” he said.

Feldman served as a Distinguished Fellow in China Policy at The Heritage Foundation prior to his death and was a frequent speaker at various forums on Taiwan and cross-strait issues.

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