Sun, Jun 27, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Foreign ministry thanks US House

SHOW OF SUPPORT The ministry expressed its thanks yesterday to a US legislative committee that earlier had confirmed its commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday expressed thanks to the US House Committee on International Relations for passing a resolution to reaffirm its unwavering commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act.

The ministry released a statement yesterday morning regarding the resolution, which was passed by the committee at 11pm Thursday [Taipei time].

The resolution is in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the act, passed by the US Congress in 1979 to establish a new relationship with Taiwan following the US' recognition of the People's Republic of China.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山), who is visiting the US, expressed gratitude to the committee for its resolution.

Chen hailed as significant the resolution's statement that the US government should not discourage officials of Taiwan's government from visiting the US.

Such discouragement stems from concerns about violating the "one China" policy.

The resolution states that "high-level visits between government officials of the US and Taiwan are not inconsistent with the `one China' policy."

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and Mark Chen, though they are now permitted to travel through or stay briefly in the US, are still barred from visiting Washington, as China would condemn any such visit as a US gesture in support of Taiwan.

The distances between Washington and the US cities to which Chen Shui-bian and Lu are allowed to travel are often used as a measure of the state of US-Taiwan relations. There being a short distance between Washington and a city that the president or vice president visits is interpreted as a sign of good relations.

The house resolution lists seven chief goals for relations among the US, Taiwan and China. It reiterates the US Congress' commitment to the act as the cornerstone of US relations with Taiwan.

Warning of potential military conflicts in the Taiwan Strait, the resolution says that China's military modernization and weapons-procurement program is a matter of grave concern, "particularly the current deployment of approximately 500 missiles directed toward Taiwan."

The document urges US President George W. Bush to direct all appropriate US government officials to raise these issues with officials of the Chinese government.

Bush and the US Congress should determine whether China's arms buildup, including its deployment of offensive weaponry in areas adjacent to the Taiwan Strait, requires that additional defense articles and services be made available to Taiwan, the resolution says.

With a group of legislators, led by Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), visiting the US for talks on a large arms deal, the resolution states that the US government should "encourage the leadership of Taiwan to devote sufficient financial resources to the defense of their island."

The resolution also requests an investigation into Russia's supplying China with arms.

The US Department of Defense should provide to Congress comprehensive report on the nature and scope of military sales by the Russian Federation to China, the document says.

The resolution appeals to Bush to encourage dialogue between Taiwan and China.

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