AFFIRMING UNITED STATES COMMITMENT TO TAIWAN -- HON. HOWARD L. BERMAN (Extension of Remarks - July 21, 1998)
HON. HOWARD L. BERMAN
in the House of Representatives
MONDAY, JULY 20, 1998
- Mr. BERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the resolution introduced by Mr. DeLay affirming the United States commitment to Taiwan. I am pleased to be an original cosponsor of the legislation and I would like to thank Mr. DeLay for his willingness to consider my suggestions for improving the legislation. Mr. DeLay and his staff person, Tim Berry, worked in a cooperative and bipartisan manner to fashion a resolution which I urge all my colleagues to support.
- This resolution expresses the United States continued commitment to the people of Taiwan and our interest in ensuring that the future status of Taiwan be resolved by peaceful means. It also affirms our strong support for membership for Taiwan in international financial institutions where appropriate.
- In 1994 in response to the profound economic and political changes that had taken place both in China and in Taiwan, the Clinton Administration approved adjustments in our relationship with Taiwan. Among the changes approved were permission for high-level visitors, including cabinet officers; provision for Taiwan's president and premier to transit American territory, and active support for Taiwan's membership in international organizations accepting non-states as members. These were important changes in our policy which were responsive to Taiwan's emergence as a democratic country. Nor were they out of character with past behavior toward Taiwan. As a recent article in the Washington Post by Ambassador Harvey Feldman points out, even after being expelled from the United Nations in 1971, Taiwan remained a member of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund until 1980.
- It is important to note that our policy towards Taiwan has not been immutable. It has changed in response to developments in Taiwan as long as those changes remain consistent with our overall objective of promoting peace in the region. Our relations with Taiwan and our policy has been governed by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 (P.L. 96-8), further articulated in three U.S.-China communiques of 1972, 1979, and 1982, and clarified at the request of Taiwan in the so-called `Six Assurances' in 1982. In 1982 the Reagan Administration was asked by Taiwanese officials to accept as guidelines concerning our policy towards Taiwan six points: (1) the United States would not set a date for termination of arms sales to Taiwan; (2) the United States would not alter the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act; (3) the United States would not engage in advance consultations with Beijing before deciding on U.S. weapons transfers to Taiwan; (4) the United States would not serve as mediator between Taiwan and the mainland; (5) the United States would not alter its position regarding sovereignty of Taiwan and we would not pressure Taiwan to engage in negotiations with the mainland, and (6) the United States would not formally recognize China's sovereignty over Taiwan. We accepted those points and they have conditioned our role between Taiwan and China ever since. This resolution, by reaffirming our interests in resolving the status of Taiwan through peaceful means, reinforces our continued adherence to the six assurances of 1982.
- It is important that, as we attempt to build a more constructive relationship with China, we not do so at the cost of the people of Taiwan. This resolution makes clear our desire to maintain strong, productive and peaceful relations with both China and Taiwan. In his recent trip to China, President Clinton emphasized this point when he said `a key to Asia's stability is a peaceful and prosperous relationship with the People's Republic of China and Taiwan.' As the President noted, peace and prosperity `has allowed democracy to flourish in Taiwan.' I hope that the peace and prosperity which China now enjoys will lead as well to democracy in that great land.