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 once more to the Taipei Times which has for the third time gotten it wrong when it comes to reporting on recent legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives regarding the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).
“Once again, Taipei Times has inaccurately reported on the workings of the U.S. Congress and of my position regarding Taiwan and Beijing,” Faleomavaega said. “Most recently, Taipei Times published my rebuttal on March 31 to a guest editorial printed in its paper on March 25 in which an anonymous author misrepresented my involvement with the TRA legislation. In so doing, Taipei Times added an Editor’s note which contained information which was either intentionally inaccurate or incorrectly misreported.”
“To be clear, Taipei Times falsely states that I cannot support my claim that changes I made to the TRA legislation had the full backing of Committee members. If Taipei Times understood the workings of Congress, it would have understood what I already stated in my previous response – that the changes I made were supported by our Subcommittee members, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the full committee, as well as the bill’s author, each of whom approved the measure to go forward by unanimous consent.”
“The bill then moved from the subcommittee to the full committee, as this is how the process works in the U.S. Congress. Although the Chairman and Ranking Member of the full committee had already agreed to the Subcommittee changes, other Members, which is their prerogative in a democracy, asked for the word ‘cornerstone’ to be put back in the legislation to replace the word ‘vital’ which I had used instead. Upon the advice of the U.S. House of Representatives’ legislative counsel -- which argued that the word ‘vital’ (which means ‘essential’, ‘critical’, ‘most important’) was legally stronger than the word ‘cornerstone’ (which means ‘foundation’, ‘starting point’, ‘beginning’) -- Republicans and Democrats of the full Committee reached an agreement to make the change back to ‘cornerstone’, and the bill was then sent directly to the House floor, with no further changes.”
“Finally, regarding Taipei Times’ assertion that I am confused about the TRA, I would kindly point out that the Taipei Times should review the TRA, as contrary to its assertions, the TRA absolutely implies that the U.S. wants peace – peace between Taipei and Beijing, peace in the Western Pacific, and peace for U.S. troops. This is why the TRA plainly states 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 and all other peoples of the Western Pacific area.”
“While I have always supported the people on Taiwan, my first priority will always be to prevent as much as possible a gross misuse of U.S. military forces to fight any unnecessary war and, for this reason, I will continue to support the long-standing position of the United States on the issue of Taiwan which is to support peaceful relations across the Strait and to maintain the One China policy. Every President since 1979 has affirmed this position. And no matter how Taipei Times twists the truth, or contorts the words of Senator Richard Lugar or President Ronald Reagan, the fact remains ‘that the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to resolve.’ Hopefully, the Taipei Times and FAPA will do their part to support peace more than ever in a manner that is respectful of America’s young men and women who do not deserve to be dragged into another war, now or in the future, just because sensible people refuse to get along,” Faleomavaega concluded.