The US House of Representatives has unanimously passed the Taiwan Travel Act, legislation that encourages visits between Taiwan and the US at all levels, including high-ranking officials.
The bill, a follow-up to the Taiwan Relations Act, was introduced by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and others in January last year and was passed by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in October before being submitted for a vote by the full House.
The legislation still has to be passed by the US Senate to become law.
“The US and Taiwan share a commitment to democracy, rule of law and human rights... We should be supporting countries that have achieved democracy to serve as inspiration for these values across the Asia-Pacific [region],” Royce said following the passage of the bill.
The bill says that ties between Taiwan and the US have suffered from insufficient high-level communication since the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979 because of self-imposed restrictions by the US on visits by top officials to Taiwan.
“The United States government should encourage visits between the United States and Taiwan at all levels,” the bill says.
If the bill becomes law, high-level Taiwanese officials would be able to travel to the US and meet with US officials, including officials from the US Department of State, as well as conduct business in the US.
High-ranking Taiwanese officials have been barred from direct diplomatic engagement in Washington and senior US officials have not visited Taiwan since the US severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979.
US-Taiwan Business Council president Rupert Hammond-Chambers said that the council supports the bill.
“We believe it will improve communication between Taiwan and the United States, specifically expanding the understanding of Taiwan’s situation to decisionmakers in Washington,” he said.
The US House yesterday also passed a bill that directs the US secretary of state to help Taiwan regain observer status at the WHO and increases reporting requirements.
Royce said the passage of the two bills sent a strong message of support for Taiwan.
The WHO bill says that the 108th US Congress in 2004 passed legislation directing the US secretary of state to establish a strategy for, and to report annually to the US Congress on, efforts to obtain observer status for Taiwan at the World Health Assembly, the decisionmaking body of the WHO.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington expressed gratitude to the US Congress for the goodwill and high level of support it has shown to Taiwan during the legislative process.
REACHING OUT: President Tsai expressed condolences to the deceased man’s family and wished a speedy recovery to those who were wounded in the shooting The Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) on Monday called on the US to label organizations associated with the suspect in the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church shooting as domestic terrorists, following accusations that he was a member of a group backing unification with ties to the Chinese government. David Wenwei Chou (周文偉), 68, was arrested on Sunday and is being held in lieu of US$1 million bail at the Orange County Intake Release Center over a mass shooting at the California church that left one dead and five wounded. Local police suspect the shooting was politically motivated after they found notes in
LIVING WITH COVID-19: Close contacts with a booster shot would no longer follow the ‘3+4’ policy, instead practicing ‘0+7,’ or self-disease prevention for seven days Close contacts of COVID-19 cases who have received a booster shot no longer need to isolate at home, but should practice seven days of “self-disease prevention,” effective today, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that starting at 12am today, close contacts — people living in the same household — of those confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 are exempt from home isolation if they have received a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. Data from other countries show that people who have received a booster shot are
‘TOO RESTRICTIVE’: Ending US sales of weapons that do not fall under the category of ‘asymmetric’ would hamper Taiwan’s defense against China, two business groups said Taiwan’s weapons procurement decisions are made based on its needs, and are not influenced by individual arms dealers, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday after two US business groups questioned a US official’s comment on arms sales to Taiwan. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Regional Security Mira Resnick told the business groups via video link on Saturday that Washington would adjust the types of weapons sold to Taiwan and end “most arms sales to Taiwan that do not fall under the category of ‘asymmetric.’” The American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan and the US-Taiwan Business Council on Monday
MANY VOICES: The Formosa Club, 94 Mexican lawmakers, 70 Brazilian lawmakers and others signed a letter recommending Taiwan’s inclusion to the WHO director-general A WHO official on Monday said the organization would begin discussing a motion to restore Taiwan’s observer status in six days’ time, after confirming the receipt of a request from 13 member states to deliberate the matter. Steven Solomon, the WHO principal legal officer, made the comment at a news briefing ahead of the 75th meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the organization’s decisionmaking body in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHA Executive Board would meet in a closed-door session on Sunday evening to advise the member states, which would then meet the next day to determine whether the motion would be entered