Sherman, Chabot and Colleagues Introduce the Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) and Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) introduced the Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act to bolster our relationship with Taiwan. They were joined by their colleagues Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), and Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) in introducing this important bill.
The Taiwan Relations Act codified the policy of the United States to preserve and promote extensive, close, and friendly relations between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan. As ties between the U.S. and Taiwan have grown, prior Administrations have taken actions to rename Taiwan’s representative entities. For example, the Clinton Administration saw Taiwan’s office in Washington renamed to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices (TECO). However, it is the policy of the United States to refer to Taiwan as ‘Taiwan’, not ‘Taipei’ or ‘Chinese Taipei.’ Thus, in 2019, the organization which manages Taiwan’s ties to the United States changed its name to the Taiwan Council for U.S. Affairs. Following this longstanding policy, the Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act directs the Secretary of State to enter into negotiations with the Taiwan Council for U.S. Affairs to rename the Council’s office in Washington, D.C., the Taiwan Representative Office in the United States.
As the Taiwan Strait remains one of the major flashpoints in the world, Congress should also play a role in overseeing U.S.-Taiwan relations through the Senate confirmation process. Several officers with relatively limited policy roles when compared to the Director of the American Institute in Taiwan are subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, including the officials at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. The Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act includes the Taiwan Envoy Act, legislation introduced by Congressman Chabot and Sherman in the 116th Congress, to require Senate confirmation of any individual appointed to serve as the Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).
Taiwanese officials and diplomats do not receive diplomatic visas; instead, they are provided investor visas, which do not accurately represent their purpose in the United States as official representatives of Taiwan. The Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act also creates a new visa category that applies only to Taiwanese officials. This new visa category is not only beneficial for Taiwanese representatives in the United States, but also encourages closer government ties between U.S. and Taiwan officials.
“Taiwan is an important democratic ally of the United States. Yet, it would be surprising for most Americans to know that Taiwan’s office in Washington still includes ‘Taipei’ in its name,” said Congressman Sherman. “This bill simply says that it is time for the State Department, and Congress, to take action to elevate our relationship with Taiwan. We should also be taking action to encourage more robust engagement between U.S. and Taiwanese officials. By changing TECRO’s name to the Taiwan Representative Office and making the Director of the AIT Senate confirmable, we will reaffirm the U.S. commitment to robust relations with Taiwan.”
“As a founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, I have consistently worked to strengthen our bilateral relationship with Taiwan,” said Congressman Chabot. “That’s why I’m pleased to introduce the Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act with Congressman Sherman today to ensure that Taiwan’s representatives here are accorded the dignity they deserve and to strengthen congressional oversight over Taiwan policy. As our two countries grow steadily closer, this critical legislation will bring necessary improvements to the interactions between our two governments.”
“The Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act affirms the United States’ firm and unwavering support for Taiwan as a critical democratic and economic partner. This important bill is consistent with the longstanding role Congress has played in supporting and advancing U.S.-Taiwan relations since enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979,” said Congressman Connolly.
“Taiwan has been an exemplary actor on the world stage, and has acted responsibly and generously in helping nations, including the U.S., in combatting the pandemic,” said Rep. Diaz-Balart. “I support any efforts to expand Taiwan’s diplomatic capabilities, increase its inclusion in international organizations, and strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan relationship. This bill is a positive step toward achieving those goals.”
“Over the last year, Taiwan has once again proven to be a strong ally to the United States,” stated Congressman Sires. “This bill is an important step in building upon the U.S.-Taiwan relationship that has existed for many years and reaffirming our strong partnership.”
“I’m proud to introduce this important legislation to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to our partnership with Taiwan and build the ties between our government officials,” said Rep. Buck.