The head of a visiting US bipartisan congressional delegation has highlighted the importance of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and promised to work on deepening Taiwan-US relations.
US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce yesterday vowed to propose legislation to reaffairm the act in the House of Representatives before April 10, the date the law was enacted in 1979, to highlight the importance of the law to Taiwan-US relations.
“One of the things we want to do when we go back to the US is to put in a bill on the 35th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act and pass it again through the House of Representatives,” Royce told reporters yesterday.
A statement about the importance of a deep, lasting relationship between Taiwan and the US will be included in the law, Royce added.
Meanwhile, in his opening remarks at a closed-door meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂), Royce said the purpose of the delegation’s visit was to see what else they can do in the US to deepen the bilateral relationship.
As the issue of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) comes up, “we want to make certain that Taiwan is included in that partnership,” Royce said.
If Taiwan is approved to join the TPP, which is still being negotiated by the US and 11 other countries, it will “build the strengths for Taiwan economically” and “further integrate Taiwan into the world economy,” he said. “We are here to be supportive in terms of the inclusion of Taiwan in that agreement.”
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Lin said the message conveyed by the US delegation was of “great significance,” and that the TRA has played an important role in ensuring cross-strait peace and stability over the past decades and this year commemorates the 35th anniversary of its enactment.
The US delegation, which includes chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Steve Chabot and ranking member of the Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade Subcommittee Brad Sherman, also met with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman and Secretary-General Tseng Yuan-chuan (曾永權) yesterday before it wrapped up its three-day visit.
During the delegation’s meeting with Su, Royce said the US paid close attention to the progress of Taiwan’s potential accession to the TPP, which the US views as a critical step toward the nation’s economic integration in the region.
During the meeting with Tsai, Royce reiterated the plan to propose legislation reaffirming the commitment between the US and Taiwan prior to the 35th anniversary of the TRA, while Sherman and Chabot inquired about the health of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and said that they raised the issue of Chen’s health during a morning meeting with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and expressed their support for the former president to be given medical parole.
Tsai told the delegation that Taiwan needs to show its commitment to defending itself and no other policy would better serve that goal than increasing the military budget to 3 percent of GDP, and actively pursuing military arms sales and military exchanges with the US.
Tsai said the DPP is determined to facilitate and maintain cross-strait exchanges.