`Amity' delegation departs for US to promote relations

CLOSER TIES: Trong Chai, the DPP legislator who is heading the delegation, says that parliamentary exchanges can enhance friendly ties between the two democratic nations


Sat, Apr 06, 2002 - Page 3

A 14-member delegation of the Taiwan-USA Parliamentary Amity Association left for the US yesterday for a weeklong visit.

DPP legislator Trong Chai (蔡同榮), leader of the delegation, said prior to the departure that the trip will mainly be about attending the inauguration of the US Congressional Taiwan Caucus next week -- in order to witness the close exchanges between Taiwan and US legislators.

Delegation spokeswoman Hsiao Bi-hkim (蕭美琴) said that friendly relations between Taiwan and the US could be enhanced through such close parliamentary exchanges.

The caucus, which has 77 members, was founded by US Representatives Robert Wexler, a Democrat; Sherrod Brown, a Democrat; Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican; and Steve Chabot, a Republican.

The delegation will also attend a series of seminars organized by the Washington-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), which Chai said has long promoted relations between Taiwan and the US and has maintained exchanges with the US Congress.

Hsiao also lauded the FAPA, saying that she agrees with the comments within US political circles that the group is the strongest US lobby group after Israel's. She also said that it has become one of the major pillars of Taiwan-US ties outside official channels.

The delegation is also sch-eduled to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act during the visit. The act, signed into law by then-president Jimmy Carter on April 10, 1979, governs relations between Taiwan and the US in the absence of formal diplomatic ties, which were severed years earlier.

The legislative delegation also includes lawmakers from across the political spectrum, including the KMT's Yao Eng-chi (饒穎奇), the PFP's Liu Sung-fan (劉松藩) and the TSU's Wang Cheng-chung (王政中).

Chai was recently elected head of the Taiwan-USA Parliamentary Amity Association, which has a total of 120 legislative members.

The association, established in May 1988, was formerly named the Taiwan-USA Inter-Parliamentary Amity Association.