A cross-party lawmaker introduced a bill Friday (May 28) to strengthen U.S. relations with Taiwan, directing the State Department to consult with Taiwan to change the name of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office to the U.S. to the Taiwan Representative Office.
The Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act, co-sponsored by California Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman and Ohio Republican Congressman Steve Chabot, was introduced by Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia, Republican Congressman Steve Chabot of Florida, and was introduced by the U.S. Department of State. Connolly (D-Va.), Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.).
The Taiwan Relations Act sets forth the policy of the United States to preserve and promote broad, close and friendly relations between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan, said a press release issued by Congressman Sherman on May 28. The Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act would direct the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Taiwan Council on American Affairs, to rename the Council’s representative office in Washington, D.C., the “Taiwan Representative Office in the United States.
Congressman Sherman said, “Taiwan is an important democratic ally of the United States. Most Americans would be surprised to learn that the name of Taiwan’s representative office in Washington still includes ‘Taipei. This bill makes clear that it is time for the State Department and Congress to take action to enhance our relationship with Taiwan. We should also take action to encourage more active engagement between U.S. and Taiwanese officials. By renaming the ‘Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Taipei, USA’ to the ‘Taiwan Representative Office’ and ensuring that the appointment of the Director of the American Institute in Taiwan is subject to Senate confirmation consent, we will reaffirm America’s commitment to developing a strong relationship with Taiwan. “
Taiwan officials and diplomats are not granted diplomatic visas, but rather investor visas, which do not accurately reflect their purpose as official representatives of Taiwan in the United States, the press release said. The Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act also creates a new visa category for Taiwan officials only, which not only benefits Taiwanese representatives in the United States, but also encourages closer government-to-government ties between U.S. and Taiwanese officials.
The Taiwan Diplomatic Review Act “will ensure that Taiwan’s representatives in the United States are treated with the dignity they deserve and will strengthen congressional oversight of Taiwan policy,” said Congressman Schabert. As our two countries grow closer, this important legislation will bring needed improvements to the interaction between our two governments.”
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry on May 29 thanked members of the U.S. Congress from both parties for taking “various friendly actions.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “The U.S. Congress has long expressed positive and friendly positions on important issues in Taiwan-U.S. relations through legislation and other means.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs “will continue to monitor the follow-up progress of the bill and maintain close contact with our friends in the U.S. Congress and the executive branch to steadily deepen the substantive partnership between Taiwan and the U.S.”.