Today Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, issued the following statement on the House Foreign Affairs Committee's passage of H.R. 419, the Taiwan Policy Act of 2013, which she introduced earlier this year along with the Co-Chairs of the Taiwan Caucus, Reps. John Carter (R-TX), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Albio Sires (D-NJ). Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"I'm pleased that this bipartisan bill to strengthen our bilateral relationship with Taiwan passed unanimously today out of the Foreign Affairs Committee. An important friend and ally of the U.S., Taiwan is a great example of a nation that transitioned successfully from authoritarianism to a vibrant democracy and this bill sends an important message that the United States values its friendship with Taiwan. Today, U.S.-Taiwan relations are stronger than ever, but there is still room for our friendship to grow.
This important legislation would go a long way toward strengthening our alliance by finally permitting senior Taiwanese leaders to meet with U.S. officials in all executive branches and by authorizing the sale of fighter jets and naval vessels to assist Taiwan's national security. With the growing antagonism of the Pyongyang regime and China's ever expanding territorial ambitions, it is imperative to reaffirm and strengthen our alliance with the democratic, sovereign nation of Taiwan."
Full Statement by Ros-Lehtinen at Committee Markup:
"I would like to start by thanking you Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel for bringing the bipartisan Taiwan Policy Act for markup today.
I'd also like to thank the co-chairs of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus -- our Foreign Affairs Colleagues Albio Sires and Gerald Connolly, as well as Mario Diaz-Balart and John Carter -- for their full support and in joining me to introduce this bill.
Taiwan is an important friend and ally of the United States, and should be treated as such.
Our relations with Taiwan are stronger than ever, yet Taiwan faces a precarious situation as North Korea remains unpredictable and China continues to ramp up its military presence in the region and pursue antagonistic policies in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea.
This bill sends our Taiwan allies an important message.
It shows them that the United States Congress deeply values our friendship with them and that we will stand by their side in the face of Chinese aggression.
This bill will further strengthen our relations by finally permitting senior Taiwanese leaders to meet with U.S. officials in all executive branches.
It will also authorize the sale of much needed F-16 C/D fighter aircraft to the Armed Forces of Taiwan.
China has been increasing its military spending at an alarming rate, and we must not allow Taiwan's defense capabilities to lag behind.
So in an effort to not allow Taiwan to fall behind China's military expansion, this bill also authorizes the transfer of decommissioned class guided missile frigates to Taiwan.
Mr. Chairman and Mr. Ranking Member, this bipartisan bill is not only good for our national interests, but it sends an important message to Taiwan that we value its friendship, and will continue to stand by its side.