U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce June 15 urged all countries to act to include Taiwan in international organizations, adding that such support is needed in light of new challenges faced by the nation resulting from changes in cross-strait and global dynamics.
Royce made the comments during a hearing convened by the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. At the hearing, he specifically addressed the dissolution of formal relations between Taiwan and Panama that took place June 13.
“Unfortunately, just this week, under pressure and with inducements from Beijing, Panama broke off decades of diplomatic relations with Taiwan,” Royce stated, adding that now more than ever, it is crucial the U.S. reassure Taiwan of its intention to maintain broad and steadfast relations between the two sides. “The U.S. and Taiwan share a commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and it is these values that serve as the bedrock of this partnership,” he said.
Citing the recent decision to not invite Taiwan to attend the 70th World Health Assembly—the decision-making body of the World Health Organization—that took place May 22-31 in Geneva, Royce said that there should have been no question about Taiwan’s participation, as the island has contributed financial and technical assistance to international efforts to improve global health for many years.
This is the first time Taiwan was not included in the WHA since it was invited to attend in 2009 as an observer following an absence of 38 years. “Taiwan’s exclusion this year only hurts global health,” Royce noted.
His comments at the subcommittee took place following a hearing of the U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee the day before, during which Republican Rep. Steve Chabot similarly reiterated backing for Taiwan, a nation he described as a close ally of the U.S.
Citing the Taiwan Relations Act, Chabot said it is fortunate that this legislation has helped maintain peace and stability. He went on to stress, however, that “if push comes to shove, the United States will stand with Taiwan.”
At the same hearing, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reaffirmed his nation’s commitment to the TRA. Taiwan is an important element in maintaining stability and peace in the Pacific region, he said.
In response to Tillerson’s comments, the Republic of China (Taiwan) Ministry of Foreign Affairs said June 15 that the U.S. has made its commitment to Taiwan’s security clear on many occasions, adding that this unwavering stance is beneficial to regional stability.
Signed into law in 1979 after the U.S. switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing, the TRA authorizes the continuation of substantive relations between the people of the U.S. and the people of Taiwan.
Source: Taiwan Today (http://taiwantoday.tw/news.php?unit=2&post=117024)