TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The U.S. Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs on Friday unanimously passed the Taiwan Travel Act, a bill encouraging visits between the U.S. and Taiwanese officials at all levels.
The bill, serving as a follow-up to the Taiwan Relations Act, was introduced by Rep. Steve Chabot, a long-time Taiwan supporter, and co-sponsored by Rep. Brad Sherman and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce.
The bill encourages visits between U.S. and Taiwanese officials at all levels, instead of imposing restrictions on them as enacted by the Taiwan Relations Act since 1979, and encourages the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office to conduct business in the United States.
“Since the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act, relations between the United States and Taiwan have suffered from insufficient high-level communication due to the self-imposed restrictions that the United States maintains on high-level visits with Taiwan,” the bill states.
It concludes that“the United States Government should encourage visits between the United States and Taiwan at all levels.”
Similar legislation had been introduced in the House and the Senate in September 2016.
Peter Chen (陳正義), president of the Washington, D.C.-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), said the U.S. should be the only one who gets to decide who can visit the United States, and “not the communist leaders in Beijing.”
“This is American soil. So it should be the prerogative of the United States ONLY to decide who can visit Washington DC,” he said.
“With the new administration in place in the U.S. and in Taiwan the time is now for the U.S. to enable Taiwan’s president (among others) to come to Washington DC – without restrictions,” he concluded.