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Chabot Introduces Legislation to Allow Taiwanese Diplomatic Travel, and Strengthen U.S. – Taiwan Relations

Washington, January 13, 2017 | comments
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Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) today introduced H.R. 535, the Taiwan Travel Act. Chabot has long championed strong U.S.-Taiwan relations as the anchor of peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region. Chabot is joined by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) as original cosponsors of the Taiwan Travel Act.

The Taiwan Travel Act states that official U.S. policy should encourage visits between American and Taiwanese officials at all levels of government. Communication between Washington and Taipei would benefit from ending the United States’ self-imposed restrictions on high-level visits with Taiwanese decision-makers.

“The controversy surrounding Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s transit through Houston and San Francisco on her way to and from Central America highlights the need for a change in U.S. policy,” said Chabot. “I have always felt that restricting high-level visits by senior Taiwanese officials is both insulting and counterproductive. This is U.S. policy—our own self-imposed restrictions. I have repeatedly said that this policy is nonsense and should be changed. I have also long believed that the Administration should encourage direct dialogue with the democratically elected President of Taiwan. It is well known in international diplomacy, that face to face meetings are an important component in ensuring a sustainable relationship.”

Diplomatic visits between nations indicate the depth of their relationships. The Taiwan Relations Act, which was enacted in 1979, requires the U.S. to interpret any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the stability of Asia and of grave concern to the United States. However, for the past 37 years, high ranking Taiwanese officials have simultaneously been barred from direct diplomatic engagement in Washington, D.C.
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