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U.S. Congress marks TRA's 37th anniversary

2016/04/13 18:40:14

(CNA file photo)

Washington, April 12 (CNA) Members of the U.S. Senate Taiwan Caucus and Congressional Taiwan Caucus have recently released statements in recognition of the 37th anniversary of the enactment of the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the continuing and growing partnership between Taiwan and the United States.

"Taiwan is one of the strongest democratic and economic partners of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region," said U.S. Senator James Inhofe, a co-chair of the Senate Taiwan Caucus, in a statement issued Monday.

"The Taiwan Relations Act has played an indispensable role in shaping American policy toward Taiwan and U.S. strategy in Asia and serves as a model of freedom... Taiwan's strength, both democratically and economically, helps to bolster peace and stability in this strategically important region," Inhofe said.

Meanwhile, Senator Robert Menendez, a co-chair of the Senate Taiwan Caucus, said Taiwan is one of the strongest democratic and economic partners of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region and the United States will continue to support Taiwan's democracy, freedom and economic prosperity.

Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart, Albio Sires, Gerry Connolly and Gregg Harper, the four co-chairs of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, also made a joint statement, expressing their support for the TRA, which provides the legal basis for Taiwan-U.S. relations in the absence of official ties.

The caucus, a pro-Taiwan U.S. congressional group formed by 85 members of the House of Representatives and Senate on April 9, 2002, currently has 205 members, which makes it the largest such group in congress. Its support for the TRA reflects the great importance the U.S. Congress attaches to Taiwan.

U.S. President Barack Obama last month signed a bill which requires the U.S. secretary of state to develop a strategy to obtain observer status for Taiwan in the International Criminal Police Organization as well as other groups.

In addition, key U.S. lawmakers have expressed approval of the Obama administration's announcement in February of a US$1.83 billion arms sales package to Taiwan, the first offered by the U.S. to the country in four years.

In response, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. on Tuesday expressed gratitude to the two pro-Taiwan groups for their support of enhanced relations between the two countries.

The two groups currently have 34 and 205 members, respectively, both a record high, signaling that relations between Taiwan and the United States are at their best, the Taiwanese representative office said.

(By Rita Cheng and Evelyn Kao)