Thu, Apr 06, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Henry Hyde praises Taiwan's democracy

CHAMPION'S TRIBUTE The congressman has been a stalwart supporter of Taiwan on Capitol Hill and was awarded the Order of the Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon


Taiwan's representative to the US David Lee congratulates Representative Henry Hyde in Washington on being awarded the Order of the Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon on Tuesday. Lee presented the award to Hyde on behalf of President Chen Shui-bian.


Representative Henry Hyde, the chairman of the US House of Representative's International Relations Committee, praised Taiwan on Tuesday for providing "a great example to the rest of the world about how democracy can work."

"There have been transfers of power from one political party to another. They have been smooth and uninterrupted, and it shows that democracy can work around the world," Hyde said.

"I think the [Taiwanese] people are extraordinarily brave, extraordinarily productive. They have fought Communism successfully by themselves for many years, and they defeated Communism, and are still a free and sovereign state," he said.

"Their interests are our interests, and our interests are their interests. We have a partnership, we have an abiding friendship, and it is something we should treasure," Hyde said.

He made the comments after he accepted the Order of the Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon, one of Taiwan's highest presidential awards, during a ceremony in his House office.

The award is the highest that the president can convey on anyone who is not the head of state of another nation.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has praised Hyde as an "outstanding statesman" who has made a "remarkable contribution" to US-Taiwan relations.

Taiwan's Representative David Lee (李大維) presented the award, conveying "the highest regard from our president, Chen Shui-bian, and from all the 23 million people on Taiwan."

In recent years, it has been awarded only to two other Americans, Representative Tom Lantos, the ranking Democrat on the International Relations Committee, who has consistently supported Taiwan, and to Douglas Paal, the former director of the American Institute in Taiwan.

Hyde, 81, plans to retire at the end of this year after 32 years in Congress. During his chairmanship, the International Relations Committee has held several hearings on Taiwan in an effort to highlight the nation's cause.

He has planned a series of hearings on China and Taiwan, but these have been stymied so far, according to sources, by the refusal of Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick to appear.

The award praises Hyde as an "outstanding statesman" who has "devoted himself to promoting cordial relations and close cooperation between the US and the Republic of China [Taiwan].

"His remarkable contributions have won him profound appreciation from the people and government" of Taiwan, it said.

In presenting the award, Lee recalled that in 1979, after then US president Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to Beijing, Hyde worked "diligently" and tirelessly to enact the Taiwan Relations Act, which established the framework for "unofficial" US-Taiwan relations since then, and which committed the US to be prepared to defend Taiwan against an attack by China.

"In his service on the International Relations Committee, Chairman Hyde has helped seal our bilateral relations," Lee said.

"Chairman Hyde has been a great friend of Taiwan," he said.

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