Fri, Sep 16, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan bill introduced in US Congress

FIGHTING ‘NEGLECT’:The new bill declares arms sales should include new F-16C/D aircraft and upgrades of the existing F-16A/B fleet are ‘essential to Taiwan’s security’

By William Lowther  /  Staff Reporter in Washington

In addition, the bill calls for Taiwan to be admitted to meaningful participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization and for Taiwan to be admitted to the US visa-waiver program.

“It is in the economic interests of the US and the national security interests of Taiwan for our two peoples to further strengthen and revitalize their trade and investment ties, including through an expanded Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement,” the bill says.

The bill adds that the US Trade Representative should conclude negotiations in the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and that there should be an ultimate goal of reaching a free-trade agreement with Taiwan.

In the meantime, the bill says the US should launch a study into the feasibility of negotiating an investment and tax agreement with Taiwan.

Furthermore, it gives the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) the right to fly the Taiwanese flag in Washington and also gives TECRO the right to conduct official business at its Twin Oaks Estate, including activities involving members of the US Congress and the US government.

If the Taiwanese government wanted, it could change TECRO’s name to the Taiwan Representative Office. In effect, the bill would turn Twin Oaks into the Taiwanese embassy.

The bill calls for Cabinet-level officials to visit Taiwan and it would permit senior Taiwanese officials to visit the US “under conditions which demonstrate appropriate courtesy and respect for the dignity of such leaders.”

Also, it would permit high-level Taiwanese and US officials in all US executive departments to meet. It also calls for the signing of a comprehensive extradition agreement.

On the question of arms sales, the bill contains a long list of items that should be made available to Taiwan, including modern surface-to-air missiles, vertical and short take-off and landing aircraft, access to satellites for remote sensing and communication, submarines, anti-ship cruise missiles and enhanced senior-level training.

The bill also calls for an extensive review into whether Taiwan’s air defense forces retain the ability to effectively defend Taiwan “against China’s ballistic missile and air threats.”

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