Friday, February 23, 2007

Published on Taipei Times

Congress members pitch for Taiwan

TIME FOR CHANGE: A bipartisan resolution calls on the US president to abandon the `one China' policy and commence normal diplomatic relations with Taipei
By Charles Snyder
Saturday, Feb 17, 2007, Page 3
"[The] `0ne China Policy' is effectively obsolete, and does not reflect the obvious reality that Taiwan has functioned as an independent and sovereign country for over a half a century."

quote from a resolution from seven members of the US Congress

A group of seven members of the US Congress yesterday introduced legislation calling on the US to establish normal relations with Taiwan as an independent country, and seek Taiwan's "full participation" in the UN and other international bodies.

The "sense of congress" resolution proclaims that Washington's "`One China Policy' is effectively obsolete, and does not reflect the obvious reality that Taiwan has functioned as an independent and sovereign country for over a half a century."

"Our current `One China' policy is a fiction, a relic of time that has long since passed," Representative Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican, said in a press release accompanying the introduction of the resolution.

"It's time for the United States to stop living this lie and to formally recognize Taiwan for what it is: an independent and sovereign country," he said.

Joining Tancredo in sponsoring the bipartisan resolution were Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican and Steve Chabot, an Ohio Republican -- co-chairmen of the Taiwan Caucus; Edolphus Towns, a New York Democrat; Mark Souder and Dan Burton, both Indiana Republicans; and Marilyn Musgrave, a Colorado Republican.

Other House members were expected to join as co-sponsors in coming days.

The resolution calls on US President George W. Bush to "abandon the fundamentally flawed" "one China" policy and begin the process of commencing normal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

It also calls on the president, the US ambassador to the UN and other officials to "aggressively support Taiwan's full participation in the United Nations and any other international organization of which the United States is a member, and for which statehood is a requirement for membership."

The resolution is similar to one introduced in the last Congress by Tancredo and three other House members.

That resolution never made it through the International Relations Committee, now called the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Unlike the earlier resolution, the current one seeks to establish normal relations with "Taiwan."

The 2005 resolution used the term "Republic of China."

Also unlike the earlier resolution, which expressed the opinion that Taiwan should take part in the UN and other global bodies, this one would have the president and the UN ambassador actively work for those goals.

It is unclear how well the resolution will fare now Democrats, rather than the Republicans control Congress.

While former international relations committee chairman, Republican Henry Hyde, was one of Congress' most ardent Taiwan supporters, he never allowed the committee to vote on the resolution.

Current chairman, Representative Tom Lantos, a California Democrat, is also a firmly pro-Taiwan, and may be more willing to let the resolution get through his committee for a vote on the House floor.

To be enacted, however, an identical resolution would have to be approved by the Senate as well, where prospects for enactment would appear to be less than in the House, since the Senate is traditionally loathe to pass such measures.

Still, the seal of approval in the House would send a strong message to both the Bush administration and to China, which would be expected to be furious if the resolution was endorsed by the representatives.

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