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In Commemoration of the 33rd Anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act -- Hon. Robert E. Andrews

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I rise to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act.

Since the end of World War II, the United States and Taiwan have fostered a close relationship that has been of enormous strategic and economic benefit to both countries. When the United States shifted diplomatic relations from Taiwan to the People's Republic of China in January 1979, Congress moved quickly to pass the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) to ensure that the United States would continue its robust engagement with Taiwan in the areas of commerce, culture, and security cooperation. With President Carter's signature on April 10, 1979, this important and lasting piece of legislation became the Law of the Land and served as the statutory basis for U.S.-Taiwan relations going forward.

After 33 years, the TRA still stands as a model of congressional leadership in the history of our foreign relation, and, together with the 1982 ``Six Assurances,'' it remains the cornerstone of a very mutually beneficial relationship between the United States and Taiwan. Through three decades marked by momentous social, economic, and political transformations, Taiwan has remained a trusted ally of the United States that now shares with us the ideals of freedom, democracy and self-determination. The foresight of the TRA's drafters in providing that ``the United States will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services ..... to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability,'' and affirming ``the preservation and enhancement of the human rights of all the people on Taiwan'' as explicit objectives of the United States, has contributed in large measure to make Taiwan what it is today--a vibrant, open society governed by democratic institutions.

Though the people of Taiwan now enjoy fundamental human rights and civil liberties, they continue to live day after day under the ominous shadow cast by over 1400 short and medium-range ballistic missiles that the People's Republic of China (PRC) has aimed at them. The PRC persists in claiming Taiwan as a `renegade province,' refusing to renounce the use of force to prevent formal de jure independence, even codifying its right to military action via passage of the so-called ``Anti-Secession Law'' on March 14, 2005. The United States Congress strongly condemned the ``Anti-Secession Law'' in House Concurrent Resolution 98, passed on March 16, 2005.

The TRA affirmed that the United States' decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China was based on the expectation that the future of Taiwan would be determined by peaceful means.

Furthermore, it stipulates that it is the policy of the United States ``to consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means ..... a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States.'' The unambiguous and principled stance contained in these provisions has been instrumental to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait for more than thirty years, in spite of the growing military threat posed by the PRC.
I therefore invite my colleagues to join me in commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the TRA, to further underline our unwavering commitment to the TRA and our support for the strong and deepening relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan.

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