US reaffirms Taiwan Relations Act: legislators
CNATAIPEI--United States congressmen have reaffirmed that there will be no changes to the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), a lawmaker who recently returned from the U.S. said yesterday.
July 19, 2011, 12:11 am TWN
Legislator Shuai Hua-ming of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) said that he and other members of the Taiwan-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Amity Association were given that assurance during their meetings with several U.S. Congressmen last week.
The American politicians said clearly the idea of revising the TRA was not part of the mainstream political voice in the U.S., according to Shuai.
“It's just the voices of individuals who are in the minority,” Shuai said.
Legislator Twu Shiing-jer of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, who was also part of the legislative delegation to the U.S., confirmed that the U.S. congressmen and several administrative officials all clearly said the U.S. will continue to sell arms to Taiwan under the terms of the TRA.
In addition to Shuai and Twu, the delegation comprised KMT lawmakers Lii Ming-shing, Liao Wan-ju, Lin Hsu Shao-ping and Kuo Su-chun.
They met with six U.S. House representatives and one senator, to whom they conveyed the Taiwan government's determination to purchase F-16 C/D jet fighters, Lin Hsu said.
The delegation told the U.S. officials that the budget for the purchase would not be a problem if the U.S. agreed to sell Taiwan the aircraft, she related.
The U.S. is skeptical about Taiwan's determination to buy the fighters because it has noticed that Taiwan's national defense budget is less than 3 percent of the GDP, she said.
The delegation's trip has not produced any concrete progress on the F-16 C/D issue, Shuai said.
“The U.S. did not reject the proposal, but neither did it make any promises,” he said.
U.S. congressmen and administrative officials prefer the Taiwan government specifically request the F-16 C/Ds, Twu said. The U.S. was under the impression that Taiwan wanted an upgrade of its F-16 A/Bs, but the delegation made it clear that in addition to an upgrade of its F-16 A/B fleet, Taiwan also wants to buy F-16 C/Ds, he said.
Meanwhile, the delegation also raised the issue of resuming talks under the U.S.-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), Lin Hsu said.
The talks have been suspended for years, most recently because of a spat between the two sides over Taiwan's ban on U.S. beef exports that contain residues of a leanness-enhancing drug.
The delegation told the U.S. officials that the situation in the U.S. is different than in Taiwan, where people would not accept products that pose more than “zero risk” to their health, Lin Hsu said.
Nonetheless, the U.S. officials were given the assurance that the Taiwan government will continue to communicate with the public on the issue, she said.