Congressman Faleomavaega, Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment announced today that he is responding to false and misleading reports published by Taipei Times regarding his involvement with legislation about the 30th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). A complete copy of Faleomavaega’s letter to the editor of the Taipei Times is included below.
I am writing in response to an editorial you recently published on March 25 entitled, “Faleomavaega no friend of Taiwan.” No name is attached to the editorial, which suggests that either the author or your newspaper has its own political agenda.
Given that your paper published false reports from Coen Blaauw, executive director of the Formosan Association for Public Relations (FAPA), on March 21 and again on March 26, in which he twisted the truth about my involvement with the 30th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), and also given that your newspaper never bothered to contact my office for a response to his untruthful comments, one might conclude that your newspaper stands in opposition to the will of your people, who voted in 2008 for a change in Administration and for a more honest government.
For your information, like every other Subcommittee, the House Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment is responsible for reviewing the language of any bill put forward within its jurisdiction, and this is no different for the legislation celebrating the 30th anniversary of the TRA. Prior to the Subcommittee’s markup, Chairman Howard Berman and Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of the Foreign Affairs committee agreed to the changes I offered, as did the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, Mr. Manzullo, and the bill’s author. All other Subcommittee members agreed to the language by unanimous consent. As is the case with America’s democracy, at any time, any Member involved could have objected to the new language being offered but instead Members chose to support the changes. While Congressman Royce did raise an issue about the trade references being struck, he still supported the bill. I was also in favor of including trade references as long as the legislation made plain that Taiwan’s number one trading partner is not the United States but Beijing.
Since my proposed changes were supported by all members of the Subcommittee as well as the Chairman and Ranking member of the full committee prior to the markup, are these Members of Congress also no friend of Taiwan? I do not believe so. In fact, unlike Mr. Blaauw, Members understood that the new language offered was consistent with the TRA, and I would suggest that Mr. Blaauw and your staff reporter, Mr. Lowther, review the TRA. In so doing, both will learn that the alternative language which they have criticized which states that – “it is the policy of the US to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character” – is language straight from the TRA.
The following language, which I added, is also straight from the TRA – that it is the policy of the United States “to preserve and promote extensive, close, and friendly commercial, cultural, and other relations between the people of the United States and the people on Taiwan, as well as the people on the China mainland.”
In view of the fact that this language is straight from the TRA, why would your anonymous writer, your reporter, or Mr. Blaauw take issue with this language? I submit they take issue because it is their desire to turn the TRA into something it is not. The TRA is not a platform for independence, as they would like it to be, and the American people, as well as the young people on Taiwan, deserve to know the truth about the history of the TRA. The TRA came into existence only after the United States established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Since 1979, U.S. policy regarding Taiwan has remained unchanged. The Joint Communiques, together with the Taiwan Relations Act, are the foundation of our One China policy, which implies, as Republican President Ronald Reagan once said, that “the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to resolve.” Every U.S. President since 1979 has stood by this assertion. As Senator Richard Lugar, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in 2001, said, “For many years, successive U.S. administrations have affirmed that there is one China and that the people on Taiwan and the people of China should work out a plan for peaceful unification.”
This continues to be the policy of the United States, and I stand by it for the sake of our U.S. troops. Under no circumstances will I bow to FAPA on an issue of this importance as it is clear that FAPA’s intent is to water down our One China policy, and pit Taipei against Beijing and then call upon the U.S. military to come to its aid.