Sat, Sep 27, 2014 - Page 3 News List

US legislators urge new Taiwan policy review

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter, in WASHINGTON

Twenty-nine members of the US Congress have called on US Secretary of State John Kerry to launch a major new Taiwan policy review.

They released their joint letter to Kerry on Thursday, the 20th anniversary of the previous review.

A senior source within the administration of US President Barack Obama told the Taipei Times that the Congressional letter needed in-depth study and that it was too early to comment on what action might be taken as a result.

However, several former US government officials and diplomats attending a conference on Thursday on the 1994 Taiwan policy review said that a new examination might not benefit Taiwan and they favored the current system of quietly accumulating policy changes in an incremental way.

The Congressional move was headed by House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward Royce, a Republican from California.

“We feel strongly that there is a need today to undertake a new and thorough Taiwan policy review, laying the basis for further expanding relations with Taiwan and thereby enhancing continued peace and stability in the region,” the letter said.

“In 1979 when we shifted diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, Taiwan was ruled by a government claiming to represent China,” it added. “When the US conducted its last Taiwan policy review in 1994, Taiwan was just starting to emerge as a full democracy.”

“Over these past two decades, the people of Taiwan have consolidated their democracy and established a vibrant and pluralistic democracy in their country,” the letter said.

There would be strong Congressional support for opening up the relationship by scrapping many current restrictions, and allowing Taiwan’s leadership to visit Washington to discuss and negotiate trade and diplomatic developments.

“With the geopolitical shifts that have taken place in the Pacific during the past years and with the 2013 US rebalancing commitment to Asia, a second Taiwan policy review is overdue,” Formosan Association for Public Affairs president Mark Kao (高龍榮) said.

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