A joint letter by 78 US lawmakers calls on the US government to change the name of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington to the “Taiwan Representative Office” and start talks toward a free-trade agreement.
Dated Thursday, the letter addressing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was signed by US representatives Michael McCaul, Steve Chabot and other Republicans.
Following the Nov. 3 election, US Democrats would hold 222 of the US House of Representatives’ 435 seats, compared with the Republicans’ 211.
Photo: Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times
“The use of the word ‘Taipei’ fails to accurately reflect the strong ties the United States has not only with national-level government officials in Taiwan’s capital city, but with many subnational governments as well as the people of Taiwan,” the letter says.
Washington in May last year took an important first step by renaming the Coordination Council for North American Affairs in Taipei to the Taiwan Council for US Affairs, it says.
The US should extend that policy and change TECRO’s name to the “Taiwan Representative Office,” a more simple and accurate name, the letter says.
The lawmakers also asked the US Department of State to raise “self-imposed guidelines” restricting bilateral relations, including where US officials are permitted to meet with TECRO diplomats.
The restrictions “appear designed primarily to manage tensions with China,” rather than to advance US interest in US-Taiwan relations, the letter says.
The lawmakers also called for negotiation of a bilateral free- trade agreement, saying Taiwan has shown that it is ready to begin the difficult process of negotiating such a deal after the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) decided to lift certain restrictions on imports of US pork and beef products.
The US should take every opportunity to expand market access in Asia, in light of the Beijing-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, the letter says.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has taken bold action to adjust US policy toward China, the letter says, urging Pompeo to “make enduring changes” toward the Indo-Pacific region.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanked the US lawmakers for their friendly action, saying it would continue to strive for the best national interests and to deepen the Taiwan-US partnership steadily.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) yesterday said that changing TECRO’s name does not require lawmakers to amend any law, adding that Taiwan respects the US’ internal procedures.
Democrats and Republicans have shown robust support for Taiwan, as indicated in a report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission that called on the Trump administration to appoint American Institute in Taiwan directors through the same process required for ambassadors, he said.
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