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Taiwanese Referendum

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Location: Washington, DC


TAIWANESE REFERENDUM -- (Extensions of Remarks - February 03, 2004)

SPEECH OF HON. SCOTT GARRETT OF NEW JERSEY IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2004

Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker Taiwan and the United States have a long and fruitful relationship. Taiwan's democracy is modeled after ours and its economic prosperity depends much on the mutual trade between Taiwan and the United States. Taiwan's leaders were mostly educated in the United States and Taiwan has nearly 30,000 students studying in America colleges and their tourists' number one overseas destination is the United States.
So despite the lack of formal diplomatic relations, Taiwan is a close ally of our government. It has supported our global war against terrorism and has pledged humanitarian-assistance to postwar Iraq.

On the other hand, we have the Taiwan Relations Act, a law of the land which is designed to provide Taiwan with adequate weapons to protect itself against invasion from China. The U.S. policy on Taiwan-China relations is to maintain the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan's planned March 20 referendum, contrary to what Chinese leaders have said about it, is designed to maintain the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. It is not to provoke Chinese leaders. It merely asks Taiwan voters whether their government should buy more anti-missile weapons if China refuses to withdraw its 496 missiles targeted at Taiwan and whether their government should open up talks with China about other issues.

I feel the 23 million people of Taiwan have a right to hold such a referendum. We mustn't allow China to intimidate Taiwan with talks of overtaking Taiwan by force and other verbal threats.

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