United States Senate, July 7, 1998
Mr. TORRICELLI. Mr. President, it is sometimes said that
international conflicts begin more often from miscalculation
than design. I believe it is of service to the Senate and to our
country to make clear upon President Clinton's return both what
was said and accomplished and, indeed, what remains in place
with regard to the U.S. relations with the people and the
government on Taiwan.
American policy toward Taiwan is governed by the Taiwan
Relations Act. There are 4 principle components of this Act,
accepted by this Congress, the bedrock policy of this country,
and they remain unchanged.
First, the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful
means. The Taiwan Relations Act does not say that the
people of Taiwan and the mainland will be reunited by peaceful
means. It says the future will be determined by peaceful means.
That has not been altered.
Second, the United States affirms that one of its principle
objectives is the preservation and enhancement of the human
rights of the people of Taiwan.
Third, that the United States does not maintain as its policy
the isolation of Taiwan, its government, or its people but there
are many members of this institution, and, indeed, in this
government, that believe it would enhance the security of the
region and both peoples if Taiwan were admitted to international
Fourth, the United States remains committed to sell those
defensive means necessary for the security of the people of
Mr. President, at a time of economic turbulence in Asia, it is
notable that there is one government and one people that are a
bedrock of economic stability. Taiwan is a model of development
of democratic capitalism. It is a leader in technology and
international trade, with a standard of living obtained for its
people that is the envy of Asia.
It is also notable that at a time when it is necessary for the
President of the United States to discuss human rights with
other countries, to discuss their means of government, that
Taiwan remains a stable democracy, respecting the freedom of
religion and of speech and of expression, where people choose
their own leadership.
For all these reasons, Mr. President, it is important that
there not be any miscalculation. The policy of this country
toward Taiwan is governed by the Taiwan Relations Act. We remain
committed to that democracy and to its security. This is not of
some small moment.
This is, after all, the 19th largest economy in the world.
Taiwan is the seventh largest trading partner of the United
States--a vibrant democracy in the family of democratic nations.
There are many of us who believe that in future years the
security of the region would be enhanced by Taiwan's enhanced
relationship with the United Nations, by its entry into the
World Trade Organization and the Asian Development Bank, where
its economic power could be heard and, indeed, enhance its
Mr. President, for all those who have watched this recent trip
to Asia, it bears reminding that this Congress wrote the Taiwan
Relations Act. The Taiwan Relations Act governs the relationship
between the United States and all issues affecting the future of
Taiwan and its people. Only this Congress can change the Taiwan
Mr. President, we are all proud of President Clinton's trip to
China. I believe that he came home with real substantive
accomplishments. I believe it is also useful, as the majority
leader has pointed out, to make clear both what has changed and
what has not.
The American commitment to Taiwan has not changed. It will not
change. It is a bedrock of the American commitment to maintain
special relationships with nations that choose their own leaders
and live in the democratic family of countries.