The issues of Taiwan and cross-strait relations are expected to surface early in the new US Congress as lawmakers resume efforts to enact legislation that failed to be passed in the 106th Congress that wound up last year.
A spokesperson for Ohio Democratic Representative Sherrod Brown said the congressman plans an early introduction of bills dealing with Taiwan's participation in the WHO and UN.
One bill would urge the State Department to push for Taiwan to be allowed to participate in the WHO and be granted observer status at the World Health Assembly (WHA) to take place in Geneva in May.
Brown introduced a similar bill last year, but it died in the House International Affairs Committee. However a similar bill, which ordered the State Department to report to Congress on its efforts to support Taiwan's participation in international organizations, was enacted into law. The department has yet to issue the report called for in the legislation.
Another bill planned by Brown would urge US support for Taiwan's participation in the UN. Last year, Congress passed a non-binding resolution declaring it the "sense of Congress" that Taiwan deserves "meaningful participation" in the UN and other organizations such as the WHO.
But the lawmakers stopped short of mandating that the administration adopt a policy of working for a Taiwan role in the international body.
If the WHO bill does drag on close to the WHA meeting, some observers expect Brown and other supporters to start a massive letter-writing campaign to the Bush administration to get it to adopt the policy in the absence of a bill.
Reintroduction of a bill enhancing US-Taiwan military ties is expected to take longer. The bill, the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act, was approved by the House last year, but never made it through the Senate.
The bill, which generated widespread opposition among senators, is seen as a controversial measure, and the Republican congressional leadership is likely to try to delay introduction of a new version to give the Bush administration more time to work out the details of its China and Taiwan policies.
Such a delay would give the new administration more leeway in responding to Taiwan's latest annual requests for new weapons, including what is expected to be a renewed request for AEGIS destroyers equipped with sophisticated radar to detect and defend against multiple missile launches.
At least some aspects of the Bush policy toward Taiwan and China are expected to emerge next week, when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds two days of confirmation hearings on Secretary of State-designate Colin Powell on Jan. 16 and 17.
The hearings were scheduled before the Jan. 20 inauguration of Bush because Powell is expected to get confirmation easily.
But the hearings also give the new administration an opportunity to explain its foreign policy, nearly non-existent as an issue in last year's election, and which the Bush team has dodged since Bush was finally declared president-elect.
Meanwhile, in the House, the selection of Illinois Representative Henry J. Hyde to be the next chairman of the International Relations Committee gives little indication of how he will guide the committee's policy toward Taiwan or China.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
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RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s