CELEBRATING THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE TAIWAN RELATIONS ACT -- (Extensions of Remarks - March 30, 2004)
HON. PETER T. KING
OF NEW YORK
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, MARCH 30, 2004
Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, today I rise in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act.
On April 10, 2004, the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which has provided the framework for a strong and mutually beneficial relationship between the United States and the Republic of Taiwan (ROC), will commemorate 25 years since its enactment by Congress. The TRA has helped provide peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait making possible the
extraordinary economic expansion and democratization that has taken place there.
In 1979, during the process of normalizing relations with Beijing, there was great apprehension in the Congress that American security and economic interests in Taiwan would not be protected. What evolved is the only law which oversees almost every facet of U.S. relations with a foreign entity in the absence of diplomatic relations.
The new law provided for the security of Taiwan, formed a legal framework to protect the close relationship between the United States and Taiwan, and established Congressional oversight of that relationship including requirements that the President inform and consult with Congress when confronted by anticipated danger to Taiwan.
Today the TRA has withstood the test of time. Taiwan has built one of the world's top economies with nearly $52 billion in trade with the United States, making it our eighth largest trading partner.
The Taiwanese constitution guarantees its 23 million citizens freedom of assembly, expression and association, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press. In addition, Taiwan has established strong support for human rights, committing itself to the major international human rights conventions.
Taiwan has become an openly democratic society with free and fair elections held at all levels of government. Over 80 percent of voters participated in Taiwan's recent elections, demonstrating the vitality of Taiwan's democracy. President Chen Shui-bian who has already been certified as the winner by the central election commission has agreed to a recount and
hopefully one will take place in the very near future.
But whatever the final result, the fact remains that Taiwan has provided a moving example of democracy in action and one can only hope that it will serve as an inspiration for the more than one billion Chinese living in the People's Republic of China who will one day have an opportunity to elect their own government in a comparably democratic fashion.
It also should serve as a powerful and poignant reminder of the extent to which Taiwan and the United States share a
common commitment to the principle that governments should be elected by the people they serve as well as underscore
the vitality of the TRA and the need for continued American support for this vibrant democracy.