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20 Years Taiwan Relations Act

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20 Years Taiwan Relations Act

On 17 March 1999, the International Relations Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.Con.Res. 56 by unanimous vote.

On 23 March 1999, the measure was approved by the full House by a vote of 429-1. The text of the resolution is as follows:

House Concurrent Resolution 56

A Resolution Commemorating the Taiwan Relations Act

Whereas April 10, 1999, will mark the 20th anniversary of the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act, codifying in public law the basis for continued commercial, cultural, and other relations between the United States and Taiwan;

Whereas the Taiwan Relations Act was advanced by Congress and supported by the executive branch as a critical tool to preserve and promote ties the American people have enjoyed with the people of Taiwan;

Whereas the Taiwan Relations Act has been instrumental in maintaining peace, security, and stability in the Taiwan Strait since its enactment in 1979;

Whereas when the Taiwan Relations Act was enacted in 1979, it affirmed that the United States decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China was based on the expectation that the future of Taiwan would be determined by peaceful means;

Whereas officials of the People's Republic of China refuse to renounce the use of force against democratic Taiwan;

Whereas the defense modernization and weapons procurement efforts by the People's Republic of China, as documented in the February 1, 1999, report by the Secretary of Defense on "The Security Situation in the Taiwan Strait," could threaten cross-strait stability and United States interests in the Asia-Pacific region;

Whereas the Taiwan Relations Act provides explicit guarantees that the United States will make available defense articles and services necessary in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability;

Whereas section 3(b) of the Taiwan Relations Act requires timely reviews by United States military authorities of Taiwan's defense needs in connection with recommendations to the President and the Congress;

Whereas Congress and the President are committed by Article 3(b) of the Taiwan Relations Act to determine the nature and quantity of Taiwan's legitimate self-defense needs;

 Whereas it is the policy of the United States to reject any attempt to curb the provision by the United States of defense articles and services legitimately needed for Taiwan's self-defense;

Whereas it is the policy set forth in the Taiwan Relations Act to promote extensive commercial relations between the people of the United States and the people on Taiwan and such commercial relations would be further enhanced by Taiwan's membership in the World Trade Organization;

Whereas Taiwan today is a full-fledged multi-party democracy fully respecting human rights and civil liberties and serves as a successful model of democratic reform for the People's Republic of China;

Whereas it is United States policy to promote extensive cultural relations with Taiwan, ties that should be further encouraged and expanded;

Whereas any attempt to determine Taiwan's future by other peaceful means, including boycotts or embargoes, would be considered a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific and of grave concern to the United States;

Whereas in the spirit of the Taiwan Relations Act, which encourages the future of democratic Taiwan to be determined by peaceful means, Taiwan has engaged the People's Republic of China in a cross-Strait dialogue by advocating that peaceful renification be based on a democratic system of government being implemented on the mainland;


Whereas the Taiwan Relations Act established the American Institute on Taiwan (AIT) to carry out the programs, transactions, and other relations conducted or carried out by the United States Government with respect to Taiwan and AIT should be recognized for the successful role it has played in sustaining and enhancing United States relations with Taiwan:

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress that--

  1. the United States should reaffirm its commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act;
  2. the Congress has grave concerns over China's military modernization and weapons procurement program, especially ballistic missile capability, including the movement of those missiles into a closer geographic proximity to Taiwan, and the effect that buildup may have on stability in the Taiwan Strait;
  3. the President should direct all appropriate officials to raise these grave concerns with officials from the People's Republic of China;
  4. the President should seek from leaders of the People's Republic of China a public renunciation of any use of force, or threat to use force, against Taiwan;
  5. the President should provide annually a report detailing the military balance on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, including the impact of procurement and modernization programs;
  6. the executive branch should inform the appropriate committees of Congress when officials from Taiwan seek to purchase defense articles for self-defense;
  7. the United States Government should encourage a regional high-level dialogue on the best means to ensure stability, peace, freedom of the seas, and deterrence in East Asia;
  8. the President should encourage further dialogue between democratic Taiwan and the People's Republic of China; and
  9. it should be United States policy in conformity with Article 4(d) of the Taiwan Relations Act to publicly support Taiwan's admission to the World Trade Organization as soon as possible on its own merits and encourage others to adopt similar policies.