"Stop isolating Taiwan"

Speech by Congressman Sherrod Brown

Washington, 29 October 1997

At a rally by the Taiwanese-American community on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, Congressman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said the following:

As we rally today on behalf of a free, democratic, and prosperous Taiwan, President Clinton is entertaining Jiang Zemin in the White House. This Chinese dictator is given red carpet treatment, while Taiwan's democratically-elected president, Lee Teng-hui, is officially shunned whenever he steps foot on U.S. soil.

Such actions are shameful, and contrary to America's interest. Taiwan is becoming increasingly important to the United States, economically, strategically, and politically. The country's democracy is a beacon of light and hope in East Asia. Moreover, Taiwan is the eighth largest trading partner of the U.S., and has made great strides in the field of health care.

Taiwan should not be punished for these positive developments, but rather celebrated and encouraged. The outdated and unrealistic policy of "One China" should be jettisoned, and Taiwanese membership in the United Nations supported. The U.N. charter proclaims the right of self-determination for peoples throughout the world. The citizens of Taiwan have been waiting far too long to exercise this right, and today I join you in declaring that the wait must end.

Therefore, the international community in general, and the United States in particular, should actively assists Taiwan in exercising its universal right of self-determination by recognizing Taiwan's independent status and by pressing for its admission into various international organizations as a full participant. In a recent poll, nearly two-third of Americans agreed with this position.

Let us stand here today, then, and urge President Clinton to make clear to Jiang Zemin that the future of Taiwan should be determined by peaceful means, and that, unlike Hong Kong, whose populace had little to say in choosing their fate, no one has the right to decide Taiwan's future but its own people.

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