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Taiwan holds a banquet to hail Taiwan Relations Act

WASHINGTON -- Taiwan's representative office in the United States held a banquet at the historic Twin Oaks mansion in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to mark the 35th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).

Joseph Donovan, managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and AIT trustees David Brown and Douglas Spelman took part in the event.

Also present was the 95-year-old Lester Wolff, who served as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific when the TRA was passed and is credited with authoring the landmark legislation.

Under the TRA, which was signed into law on April 10, 1979, the United States outlined its security commitments to Taiwan and laid the foundation for sustaining commercial and cultural relations with Taipei after President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing.

Speaking on the occasion, Shen Lyushun, the ROC's representative to the United States, expressed his appreciation to the AIT for its role as Washington's main liaison with Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act.

He also thanked 52 U.S. senators who jointly wrote to President Barack Obama on Wednesday reaffirming the importance of the Taiwan Relations Act and called on the U.S. president to expand dialogue with Taipei.

Among other attendees at the banquet were several former U.S. government officials, including Stanley Roth, former assistant secretary of state; Barbara Schrage, former managing director of the AIT; and David Keegan, former deputy director of the AIT's Taipei Office.

Meanwhile, the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), an organization promoting Taiwan independence, also held a meeting to mark the anniversary.

Among the speakers, members of the House of Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Steve Chabot stressed the importance of the TRA in strengthening U.S.-Taiwan ties and Taiwan's democratic and economic achievements over the past 35 years.

Scholar Joseph Bosco spoke on the changes in the triangular relations between the United States, China and Taiwan during that time and analyzed Beijing's policy toward Taiwan.

Dennis Wei and Huang Yu fen, among the student protesters who took part in a recent movement to block the trade-in-services pact with China, were also invited to attend the meeting.

Wei explained the students' occupation of the Legislature, which ended Thursday, the storming of the Executive Yuan, and the reasoning behind their opposition to the controversial trade pact.

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