Mr. PAYNE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the robust U.S.-Taiwan relationship and mark the 35th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, TRA, of 1979.
The TRA set in motion a bond between the people of the United States and Taiwan that continues today. It is more critical now than ever before that we understand the value of that bond and work to promote it at every opportunity. Members of Congress who have been here long enough to see the benefits of the TRA in action know that it is an integral part of sustaining the mutual security and commercial interests of our two governments.
Our commitment to Taiwan has remained steady in times of amity and times of crisis. In July 1995, when Beijing conducted a series of missile tests in the Taiwan Strait in a brazen attempt to intimidate the Taiwanese people, the U.S. deployed the largest military fleet in Asia since the Vietnam War. Thankfully, disaster was averted. Today, an atmosphere of peaceful coexistence is maintained across the Taiwan Strait. But our nation's choices during that tense period were a potent symbol of our steadfast support of Taiwan.
The United States recognizes Taiwan's unfailing determination to promote a free and fair democratic society. We, as a nation, have supported their efforts over the last three and a half decades by providing military assistance and fostering commercial exchange. Today, Taiwan is a close ally and collaborator in global efforts to combat terrorism. Recently, Taiwan was invited for the first time to attend the 38th assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, as a special guest of Council President Roberto Kobeh Gonzalez. Through their active engagement with ICAO, Taiwan provides a multiplier effect to our own efforts to ensure safe and secure air travel and protect air passengers from the threat of hijackings and terrorist attacks. Such collaboration among partners would not have been possible without the TRA.
Today, 35 years after the passage of the TRA and nearly two decades since the Taiwan Strait Crisis, I would like to reassert our nation's role in maintaining peace and stability abroad. Our ongoing engagement with Taiwan and preservation of the TRA demonstrates our commitment to all of our allies in the Asia-Pacific region.
While we recognize the TRA, it is also important that we recognize the departure of Ambassador King Pu-tsung who has fostered the U.S.-Taiwan relationship for the last 18 months as their chief envoy to the United States. Ambassador King will soon return to Taiwan to serve as Secretary-General. Under the guidance of Ambassador King, the U.S. and Taiwan have enjoyed a very successful era. I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with Ambassador King and look forward to working with his successor in the future as we continue to strengthen our unique relationship.