Monday, April 10, 2006

Non-Binding Resolution on Allowing Taiwan Leaders into US

Steve Chabot and Sherrod Brown, two longtime friends of Taiwan, are pushing a non-binding "Sense of Congress" resolution to press the US government to allow Taiwanese leaders into the US.

In 1994, Congress passed a law that challenged that policy by allowing Taiwan's president and other high-level officials into the US for talks with officials on a range of issues, including matters of national security, trade and prevention of nuclear proliferation. The Chabot-Brown bill takes note of that law.

"Taiwan is one of the strongest democratic allies of the US in the Asia-Pacific region," the bill states. Yet, while US President George W. Bush in a speech in Kyoto last November praised Taiwan's democracy, that "has yet to be translated into equal treatment of Taiwan's democratically elected leaders ... while allowing the unelected leaders of the People's Republic of China to routinely visit Washington, and welcoming them to the White House."

The bill would end "all restrictions" on visits by Taiwan's president and other top officials, encourage high-level contacts at Cabinet level to "strengthen a policy dialogue with Taiwan's government," and declare it to be "in the national interest of the US to strengthen its links with the democratically elected government of Taiwan and demonstrate stronger support for democracy in the Asia-Pacific region."

The bill, which expresses the "sense of Congress," would not be binding on the administration.

A nice idea. Let's hope we see more like it, and with more teeth.

No comments: