Sun, Jan 15, 2017 - Page 1 News List

US lawmakers propose Taiwan travel legislation

Staff writer, with CNA

In this May 29, 2013 file photo, U.S. Rep Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, speaks at a gathering of tea party activists in Cincinnati, USA.

Photo: AP

Several pro-Taiwan members of the US House of Representatives on Friday jointly introduced legislation that encourages visits between Taiwan and the US at all levels.

The Taiwan Travel Act was initiated by US Representative Steve Chabot, cosponsored by representatives Ed Royce and Brad Sherman, ahead of a transit stop in San Francisco by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on her way back to Taiwan after a visit to Central America.

Royce, chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that as a thriving democracy, Taiwan is vital to US interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

“By encouraging more frequent visits between our two governments — including at the highest levels — we will further strengthen the critical US-Taiwan partnership,” he said in a statement.

The bill states that since the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act, ties between Taiwan and the US have suffered from insufficient high-level communication due to self-imposed restrictions that Washington maintains on visits by high-ranking officials to Taiwan.

It should be the policy of the US to allow officials at all levels of the US government, including Cabinet-level national security officials, general officers and other executive branch officials, to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts, the bill says.

High-level Taiwanese officials should also be allowed to enter the US, under conditions that demonstrate appropriate respect for the dignity of such officials, and to meet with US officials, including those from the US Department of State and the US Department of Defense and other Cabinet agencies, it adds.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, and any other instrumentality established by Taiwan, should be permitted to conduct business in the US, including activities that involve participation by members of US Congress, officials of federal, state, or local governments of the US, or any high-level official of Taiwan, it reads.

Chabot introduced a similar bill in September last year, but it failed to pass before the 114th Congress ended on Jan. 3.

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