Thu, Apr 05, 2012 - Page 3 News List

US lawmakers to mark TRA’s 33rd

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in Washington

Members of the US Congress will mark the 33rd anniversary of the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) next week.

Republican Representative Michael McCaul and Democratic Representative Edolphus Towns have already inserted remarks in the Congressional Record to commemorate the occasion.

Other members are expected to issue statements before and on the actual anniversary on Tuesday.

“The TRA still stands as a model of congressional leadership in the history of our foreign relations,” McCaul said.

“Together with the ‘six assurances’ it remains the cornerstone of a very mutually beneficial relationship,” he said.

McCaul said that providing Taiwan with weapons and defense services had contributed to the nation becoming “a vibrant, open society governed by democratic institutions.”

While the people of Taiwan enjoy fundamental human rights and civil liberties, McCaul said, they continue to live under the “ominous shadow” cast by more than 1,400 short and medium-range ballistic missiles aimed at them by China.

Towns said that since the end of World War II, the US and Taiwan had fostered a close relationship of “enormous strategic and economic benefit” to both countries.

The Washington-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) has formally welcomed the congressional comments.

“The Taiwan Relations Act along, with [former US] president Ronald Reagan’s ‘six assurances’ has for over 30 years enabled the US to cultivate its strategic relationship with Taiwan and to demonstrate our support for the Taiwanese people’s right to self-determination,” FAPA president Mark Kao (高龍榮) said.

Kao added that the way the TRA had been implemented in recent years did not adequately reflect Taiwan’s political transformation or the increased level of military aggression from China.

Kao said that FAPA especially welcomed the introduction by US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of the Taiwan Policy Act to strengthen and upgrade US policy within the TRA framework.

The Taiwan Policy Act was passed by the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs in November last year.

It is expected to go before the full House for a vote later this year.

Both McCaul and Towns have invited their colleagues in Congress to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the TRA by further underlining “our unwavering commitment to the TRA, and our support for the strong and deepening relationship between the US and Taiwan.”

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