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Congress congratulates president Chen
Washington, 10 April 2000
In a letter to President-elect Chen Shui-bian, 40 members of Congress congratulated Mr. Chen and the people of Taiwan for the historic vote and peaceful transfer of power.
The members of Congress reassured Mr. Chen of their commitment to the security and prosperity of Taiwan, and welcomed the opportunity to work with Mr. Chen and his new government to build even stronger links between the two democracies.
The full text of the letter is given below:
Mr. Chen Shui-Bian
Dear Mr. President-Elect:
We write to congratulate you on your recent election as President and the people of Taiwan for their historic vote to strengthen democracy in Taiwan. The Taiwanese people should be praised for their commitment to the democratic ideals of freedom and human rights and for their dramatic voter turnout -- greater than 80% of registered voters -- in the recent Presidential election. Taiwan has truly emerged as a model for other developing democracies to emulate.
As you form your new government, there will be several important issues that your Administration will undoubtedly have to address, none greater than the future of relations with the People's Republic of China. We hope that you will advocate for the continuation of cross-strait dialogue with the government of China that we believe will help reduce tensions in East Asia. We are also extremely encouraged by your first public comments following the election and your reference to " a journey of reconciliation to China...with good intentions, active cooperation and eternal peace."
A successful cross-strait dialogue must also include cooperation from the Chinese government. Unfortunately, recent statements issued by the Chinese government threatening to use military force against Taiwan if prolonged negotiations to reunify the two entities are not successful are unacceptable. We will continue to insist that Beijing renounce the use of force against Taiwan. Taiwan should not be compelled to accept Beijing's "one country, two systems" formulation that presupposes the final results of any negotiations and is not in accordance with the will of the Taiwanese people. The United States must be willing to support the first democracy in 4,000 years of Chinese history and help ensure that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means.
We also support expanding trade and economic relations between the United States and Taiwan. Currently, Taiwan is the 7th largest trading partner of the United States. We believe that Taiwan's economic fortunes and those of the United States would be greatly enhanced if Taiwan were able to join international multilateral economic institutions, including the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization. As the 14th largest trading economy and the 7th largest amount of foreign investment in the world, Taiwan deserves to play a role in these major international economic institutions.
We are also hopeful that your domestic policy agenda will include measures to further liberalize Taiwan's economy. In the past several years, Taiwan has shifted economic policies to address outstanding trade issues with the United States. We are pleased with your willingness to provide greater market access for American goods and stronger measures to protect American copyrights and other intellectual property rights.
Mr. President-elect, as you begin your first term as President, we hope to reassure you that we are committed to the security and prosperity of the people of Taiwan. All Americans can truly appreciate the steps taken by the people of Taiwan to strengthen their nation for future generations. The peaceful transfer of power from the ruling party to the opposition party completes Taiwan's transformation to a true democracy. We know that you will be a strong advocate for the people of Taiwan, and we welcome the opportunity to work with you and to build even stronger links between our two democracies.
Members of Congress who signed the letter