TAIWAN TRAVEL ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 5
(House of Representatives - January 09, 2018)

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[Pages H57-H59]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                           TAIWAN TRAVEL ACT

  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and 
pass the bill (H.R. 535) to encourage visits between the United States 
and Taiwan at all levels, and for other purposes.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                                H.R. 535

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``Taiwan Travel Act''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

       Congress finds the following:
       (1) The Taiwan Relations Act (22 U.S.C. 3301 et seq.), 
     enacted in 1979, has continued for 37 years to be a 
     cornerstone of relations between the United States and Taiwan 
     and has served as an anchor for peace and security in the 
     Western Pacific area.
       (2) The Taiwan Relations Act declares that peace and 
     stability in the Western Pacific area are in the political, 
     security, and economic interests of the United States and are 
     matters of international concern.
       (3) The United States considers any effort to determine the 
     future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by 
     boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of 
     the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United 
       (4) Taiwan has succeeded in a momentous transition to 
     democracy beginning in the late 1980s and has been a beacon 
     of democracy in Asia, and Taiwan's democratic achievements 
     inspire many countries and people in the region.
       (5) Visits to a country by United States cabinet members 
     and other high-ranking officials are an indicator of the 
     breadth and depth of ties between the United States and such 
       (6) Since the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act, 
     relations between the United States and Taiwan have suffered 
     from insufficient high-level communication due to the self-
     imposed restrictions that the United States maintains on 
     high-level visits with Taiwan.


       (a) Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of Congress that 
     the United States Government should encourage visits between 
     officials from the United States and Taiwan at all levels.
       (b) Statement of Policy.--It should be the policy of the 
     United States to--
       (1) allow officials at all levels of the United States 
     Government, including cabinet-level national security 
     officials, general officers, and other executive branch 
     officials, to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese 
       (2) allow high-level officials of Taiwan to enter the 
     United States, under conditions which demonstrate appropriate 
     respect for the dignity of such officials, and to meet with 
     officials of the United States, including officials from the 
     Department of State and the Department of Defense and other 
     cabinet agencies; and
       (3) encourage the Taipei Economic and Cultural 
     Representative Office, and any other instrumentality 
     established by Taiwan, to conduct business in the United 
     States, including activities which involve participation by 
     Members of Congress, officials of Federal, State, or local 
     governments of the United States, or any high-level official 
     of Taiwan.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Royce) and the gentleman from California (Mr. Sherman) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California (Mr. Royce).

                             General Leave

  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that 
all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their 
remarks and to include extraneous material on this measure.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from California?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 535, the Taiwan Travel 
Act, and I recognize Mr. Chabot for his longstanding dedication and 
support to the people of Taiwan.
  Mr. Speaker, Taiwan succeeded in a momentous transition, a transition 
which took them to democracy. They did this decades ago, and since, it 
has become a beacon of democracy across the Asia-Pacific.
  Taiwan is a strong friend and critical partner to the United States. 
Congress has been central to this longstanding bond, championing a 
strong relationship with Taiwan through a number of landmark measures, 
like the Taiwan Relations Act, impressing successive administrations to 
fulfill their obligation to sell defensive arms to Taiwan. Today, 
Congress continues this legacy with this Taiwan Travel Act, which has 
gained strong, bipartisan support.
  We should encourage our officials to visit Taipei, to meet with their 
democratically elected counterparts on the many issues, the many 
programs, that we work on together, such as global health, commercial 
ties, global cooperation and training, the framework that we have in 
place. We should also welcome Taiwanese officials here.
  Mr. Speaker, there are, in fact, no laws that bar our executive 
branch officials at any level from visiting Taiwan. The EPA 
Administrator in 2014 was the last executive branch official to visit 
Taiwan. A total of six Cabinet-level officials have visited Taiwan 
since 1979.
  As our 10th largest trading partner, Taiwan deserves more attention. 
U.S. interests in the region deserve more respect. This bill encourages 
officials, at all levels of the U.S. Government, including Cabinet-
level officials, to travel to Taiwan to meet their counterparts and 
vice versa.

                              {time}  1515

  Mr. Speaker, we must build stronger ties in our relationship with 
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation, H.R. 535, the 
Taiwan Travel Act. I am pleased to have joined with Congressman Chabot 
in introducing this bill, the Taiwan Travel Act.
  Taiwan is not just an important trading partner, our 14th largest 
market. It is not just a land of 23 million people. It is a democratic 
ally of the United States, a place where our values are displayed in 
the Asia-Pacific region. Yet it would be surprising for most Americans 
to know that leaders from Taiwan are not allowed to visit the United 
States under any reasonable format. Instead, the President of Taiwan 
cannot visit Washington, D.C., but can visit Los Angeles for a 
refueling stop on the way to Costa Rica.
  What an absurd fiction that the President of Taiwan would fly across 
the Pacific again and again to visit their friends in Costa Rica or 

[[Page H58]]

Central American countries and that the refueling stop in the United 
States is just a 2-day effort to put fuel on a jet plane.
  Now, my district actually benefits from this, because when the 
President and several different officials of Taiwan come to America, 
they refuel at Los Angeles Airport and they come to the Sheraton 
Universal Hotel in the 30th Congressional District. But in spite of the 
benefit both in terms of image and the economy that the current 
situation provides for the 30th District, it is time for us to grow up 
and it is time for us to realize that Taiwan is a vital ally and that 
its most important leaders should be visiting Washington, D.C., and 
talking not only to the legislative branch, but talking to the 
executive branch as well.
  We should no longer be in a circumstance where, when Members of 
Congress from other parts of the country want to visit with the 
President of Taiwan, they have to fly to Universal City and stay at the 
Sheraton in my district and visit there.
  We could communicate far better if the President of Taiwan was able 
to land at Dulles and be in the halls of Congress.
  This bill simply says that it is time to encourage travel of the 
high-ranking officials of each country to the other and meetings at the 
highest levels. These are important steps in ending this effort to 
isolate Taiwan, because by encouraging a greater level of high-level 
visits and dialogue, we would ease Taiwan's international isolation and 
reaffirm that the U.S. has a political and security commitment to the 
freedom of Taiwan.
  Mr. Speaker, I commend Mr. Chabot for introducing this legislation, 
and I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the 
gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen), the chairman emeritus of 
the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank our esteemed chairman for his 
years of service to our country.
  Mr. Speaker, I am proud to support H.R. 535, the Taiwan Travel Act, 
authored by my good friend and colleague, Chairman Steve Chabot. Over 
the years, Steve and I have worked closely together on our Foreign 
Affairs Committee, and his commitment and leadership on strengthening 
U.S.-Taiwan relations has been second to none.
  We have worked to shift U.S. policy on Taiwan to a more favorable 
position for our friend and ally, Taiwan, rather than an acquiescent 
policy that U.S. administration after U.S. administration continued to 
implement out of fear from a Chinese economic retaliation or diplomatic 
retaliation or military retaliation.
  Frankly, Mr. Speaker, it is a shame that we continue to allow China 
to dictate our foreign policy when it comes to Taiwan. The Taiwanese 
have been great partners for the United States, whereas China seeks to 
undermine everything we do, yet administration after administration 
have gone so far as to self-impose restrictions and self-impose 
limitations in our dealings with Taiwan, and that includes a self-
imposed restriction on allowing the Taiwanese President and other high-
ranking government officials from Taipei from coming to Washington, 
D.C., to meet with Congress, to meet with administration officials, to 
meet with other policymakers. This is unconscionable, and this farce 
needs to end.
  We should have direct dialogue with the democratically elected 
leadership of our ally, Taiwan, and we should not allow China or the 
fear of Chinese reprisal to dictate this.
  Without this, we are putting ourselves at a disadvantage. We are 
harming and insulting an ally. Most importantly, Mr. Speaker, we are 
damaging our national security interests and giving China, in effect, a 
veto over our foreign policy decisions.
  That is why Mr. Chabot's bill is so important, Mr. Speaker. The 
Taiwan Travel Act states that it should be U.S. policy to not only 
allow visits from Taiwanese officials at all levels of the government, 
but to encourage these visits, to facilitate these visits.
  It also states that our own policymakers, including at the highest 
levels of our government, should visit Taiwan for face-to-face meetings 
with their counterparts.
  Mr. Speaker, the United States is a global leader. We are a sovereign 
nation. Who we choose to meet with and who we choose to recognize is 
our sovereign right. We should not allow China or anyone else to impact 
our decision. For far too long, America has allowed China to prevent us 
from taking full advantage of our partnership with Taiwan.
  The Taiwan Travel Act is an important step toward doing the right 
thing for our friend and ally, and I hope that the administration will 
reverse these damaging policies.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman, the chairman of our esteemed 
committee, for the time. I urge all of our colleagues to support Mr. 
Chabot's bill.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may 
consume to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Chabot), who is the author of 
this bill.
  Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for his leadership on 
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of all three of these 
overwhelmingly bipartisan bills.
  First, I would like to speak on H.R. 535, the Taiwan Travel Act, a 
bill which I introduced this Congress along with my colleague, 
Congressman Sherman. We appreciate his support on this and a lot of 
other issues in this Congress, Chairman Royce and other Members as 
  For close to 4 decades now, the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act has served 
as a cornerstone of U.S.-Taiwan relations, and together, with President 
Reagan's six assurances, we have maintained peace and stability and 
security in the Asia-Pacific region. However, there are still major 
steps that we can take to further strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan 
  I believe one of the most important improvements that we can make is 
to allow the President of Taiwan and other high-ranking officials, like 
Taiwan's foreign and defense ministers, to visit Washington, our 
Nation's Capital, something that is currently prohibited. This is our 
own self-imposed policy and it is outrageous. These restrictions are 
only carried out because of potential diplomatic retaliation from the 
PRC, from China.
  Personally, I think restricting high-level visits by senior Taiwanese 
officials is not only insulting, but it is counterproductive.
  We should be encouraging more direct dialogue with the democratically 
elected President of Taiwan and other highest elected officials.
  We let the leaders of China, the PRC, come to Washington on a regular 
basis and we give them the highest honors, yet we shun the 
democratically elected leaders of our longtime ally, Taiwan.
  We need to send a strong signal that the current approach to 
bilateral contacts and communications between the U.S. and Taiwan is 
outdated and it is time for it to go and be changed, and that is what 
this bill is all about.
  If we seriously want to promote greater democracy in the region, we 
should be as supportive as possible to the countries that are actually 
practicing democracy, and that is what Taiwan does. It is a longtime 
ally of ours.
  That is exactly why I introduced the Taiwan Travel Act along, again, 
with Congressman Sherman and Chairman Royce a year ago--January 13, 
2017, to be exact.
  This bill, which has broad, bipartisan support from a long list of 
cosponsors, states that our government should encourage visits between 
the U.S. and Taiwan at all levels.
  Mr. Speaker, I would also like to quickly voice my support for H.R. 
3320, a bill championed by my friend and colleague, Chairman Ted Yoho. 
This bill directs the Department of State to assist Taiwan in regaining 
observer status in the World Health Organization, WHO. Unfortunately, 
Taiwan has been excluded from participating in most of the really 
important international organizations, including the WHO, for almost 50 
years now.

  Many of my colleagues and I have advocated for years for Taiwan's 
meaningful participation in the WHO, much to the dismay of China, which 
has consistently thwarted these efforts.
  Taiwan's exclusion from the WHO creates a dangerous and unnecessary 
gap in global health, especially considering the stellar health 
research and medical resources Taiwan has to offer.

[[Page H59]]

That is why H.R. 3320 is so important. WHO membership for Taiwan is not 
only in the best interests of Taiwan, it is in the best interests of 
the rest of the world, including the United States.
  Mr. Speaker, lastly, I want to voice my support for H. Res. 676, 
Chairman Royce's and Ranking Member Engel's resolution supporting the 
rights of the people of Iran and condemning the Iranian regime for its 
crackdown on legitimate protesters. This is a commonsense measure.
  The current regime in Iran has never respected human rights or the 
rule of law. The recent situation in Iran only underscores this 
  I am pleased to see my colleagues quickly condemning the atrocities 
by that government this very day; however, I want to take this 
opportunity to stress the importance of remembering the big picture in 
Iran. It is a country, let's face it, that is being run by thugs. Not 
only do they perpetrate violence and marginalize their own people, they 
harbor, promote, and finance terrorism throughout the region. They 
threaten America and its allies. They continue to develop ballistic 
missiles, which we know that one day they would like to have tipped 
with nuclear devices. That could be a threat not just to our allies in 
the region, but the United States.
  This most recent outbreak of civil unrest in the country should not 
be a surprise, considering the Iranian regime's ruthless tactics.
  Mr. Speaker, I hope my colleagues join me in support of this measure 
also and take further steps to hold Iran accountable for both its 
domestic and international violations. I urge my colleagues to support 
all three of these measures.
  Mr. Speaker, I again want to thank the gentlemen from California, 
Chairman Royce and Mr. Sherman, for their support on these and other 
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, every year, China threatens Taiwan, attempts to strangle 
that democracy, bases missiles just over the Taiwan Straits, conducts 
military exercises designed to simulate an invasion, hurts the economy 
of Taiwan, and hurts the people of Taiwan.

                              {time}  1530

  What is the mildest possible response that the United States could 
make to these provocative and hostile actions? It is the adoption of 
the Taiwan Travel Act, H.R. 535, to simply have meetings with Taiwanese 
officials and simply allow them to land, even at those airports in the 
United States inconvenient for refueling on the way to Costa Rica.
  We should welcome the leaders of Taiwan as we welcome the leaders of 
other allies of the United States, and this is the mildest answer we 
could make to the saber-rattling from Beijing.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge support for the bill, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I am a decades-long supporter of Taiwan; and as chairman 
of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I have made supporting stronger U.S.-
Taiwan economic and security ties a priority for our committee. I have 
traveled to Taiwan many times, as have members of the committee.
  I really want to thank Chairman Chabot for introducing this important 
measure, and I want to thank him for being a long-time champion for 
Taiwan, especially when he was chairman of the Asia and the Pacific 
  The U.S. and Taiwan share a common commitment, and that commitment is 
to democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. Taiwan's successes 
serve as an example of what can be built on these important principles. 
We should be supporting countries that have achieved democracy to serve 
as an inspiration for those values across the world.
  The Taiwan Travel Act is important because it will encourage more 
interaction between the U.S. and Taiwan. This is long overdue. It is 
needed, and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 535.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Royce) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 535.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.