US Congressman calls on Trump Administration to utilize Taiwan Travel Act

US should foster greater government exchange with Taiwan says Chris Smith

Chris Smith speaking in July 2017. (Image courtesy of Chris Smith's Twitter)

Chris Smith speaking in July 2017. (Image courtesy of Chris Smith's Twitter)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Veteran U.S. Congressman Chris Smith called on the Trump Administration to fully implement the Taiwan Travel Act, in a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sept. 15, reported CNA.

Smith outlines China's aggressive posture towards Taiwan, and calls on Pompeo to deepen Taiwan-U.S. ties and support Taiwan's place in the international community.

Chris Smith is a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey's 4th district, and has held the seat since 1981. Smith is a supporter of Taiwan, previously advocating for Taiwanese citizens attempting to visit the United Nations in New York, and voiced concern over China bullying U.S. airlines to list Taiwan as part of China.

The Taiwan Travel Act is a piece of U.S. legislation which encourages high-level visits between leaders of Taiwan and the U.S., with the most recent iteration being signed into law by President Trump on March 16.

In his letter, Smith voiced concern over China’s efforts to diplomatically isolate Taiwan, and unilaterally alter power relations in the Indo-Pacific. In this way, Smith says that recent Chinese efforts increasingly threaten peace in the region, and also damage U.S. interests.

Smith also pointed out Chinese measures to threaten Taiwan through the use of military drills encircling Taiwan, as well as its blocking of Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly.

The Congressman called for the U.S. government to publically protest China's unilateral revisionism in the South China Sea, as well as its front-footed stance towards Taiwan.

Smith also called on the U.S. Department of State to reaffirm its support for the Taiwan Relations Act.

In this context, Smith called on Pompeo to fully utilize the Taiwan Travel Act, facilitate greater Taiwan-U.S. government exchange, and champion Taiwan's participation in the international community.

In a similar vein, an editorial by U.S. broadsheet the Wall Street Journal also criticized the Trump Administration for not following through with the legislative mandate given to pursue deeper Taiwan-U.S. ties under the Taiwan Travel Act and NDAA.