Thu, Jul 26, 2007 - Page 3 News List

US legislator urges Bush to scrap ban on high-level visits

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA, WASHINGTON

US Congressman David Wu (吳振偉) on Tuesday called for the administration of US President George W. Bush to scrap the "outdated" ban against visits by high-level Taiwanese officials.

In a statement, Wu, the only US congressman of Taiwanese descent, who has served five terms as a member of the House of Representatives, said that almost any person born and raised in Taiwan had the freedom to travel to the US.

But once a person is chosen as Taiwan's president through democratic elections, this freedom is inappropriately rescinded by the US government, he said.

"While the United States attempts to promote democracy around the world, we lock the doors of our capital city to the leaders of a fellow democracy," he said.

"Rather than symbolically shunning Taiwan's democratically elected leaders, we should welcome them," Wu said.

Wu, who was born in Hsinchu, pointed out that Taiwan, once a single-party state under martial law, made a peaceful transition during the late 1980s and early 1990s to a full-fledged democracy and a multi-party political system that respects human rights and the rule of law.

"For over 50 years, our two nations have fostered a close relationship, which has been of mutual political, economic, cultural and strategic advantage. However, one vital inequity exists that prevents the exchange of views at the highest political levels: The United States government continues to adhere to guidelines from the 1970s that bar the president, vice president, premier, foreign minister and defense minister of Taiwan from coming to Washington," he said.

"Why, when Taiwan is a key player in the Asia-Pacific region, do we prevent their highest-level decision makers from traveling to our nation's capital? This outdated policy severely limits our direct dialogue with world leaders," he said.

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