Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Gary Peters (D-MI) today introduced the Taiwan Travel Act, legislation that encourages visits between U.S. and Taiwanese officials at all levels.
“America should keep strengthening our relationship with Taiwan’s vibrant democracy, including by encouraging high-level visits between Taiwanese and American officials in our respective capitals,” said Rubio. “This legislation is important, especially as China attempts to block Taiwan’s participation in international organizations.”
“This important initiative will promote high-level contacts between U.S. and Taiwanese officials based on the principles of respect, openness, and shared values, especially at a time of rising autocracies and human rights abuses,” said Menendez. “Taiwan has been a stalwart friend for many decades and I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation to help normalize the contacts between our peoples for the furtherance of our mutual prosperity, security, and cultural relations.”
“The Taiwan Relations Act, enacted 37 years ago has served as the cornerstone of relations between the United States and Taiwan and as an anchor for peace and security in the Western Pacific,” said Inhofe. “I am pleased to join Sen. Rubio in introducing the Taiwan Travel Act, which will allow U.S. cabinet members and other high-ranking officials to visit the country, meet with their Taiwanese counterparts and allow for constructive communication and interaction. Visits to countries by U.S. cabinet members and high-ranking officials visibly demonstrate the breadth and depth of our ties with those countries and Taiwan should certainly not be an exception.”
"Taiwan is one of America's largest trading partners and an important democratic ally in East Asia,” said Peters. “I’m pleased to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan bill, which will encourage high-level official security and economic meetings between our governments and reaffirm the close bonds between the United States and Taiwan."
“Taiwan is a friend and ally of the United States, and promoting high-level visits is a positive step to strengthen our partnership,” said Gardner. “I urge the Trump Administration to work closely with Congress to ensure we meet the letter and the spirit of our commitments to Taiwan, as required under U.S. law.”
Rubio previously introduced the Taiwan Travel Act in the 114th Congress.
The Taiwan Travel Act would:
- Allow officials at all levels of the United States Government, including cabinet-level national security officials, general officers, and other Executive Branch officials, to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts and also allow high-level officials of Taiwan to enter the United States to meet with officials of the United States, including officials from the Department of State and the Department of Defense and other cabinet agencies.
- Authorize officials at all levels of the United States Government, including cabinet-level national security officials, general officers, and other Executive Branch officials, to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts.
- Require a report from the Secretary of State on travel by United States Executive Branch officials to Taiwan.
Timeline of Rubio’s work to strengthen U.S.-Taiwan relations:
- April 28, 2017 – Rubio reaffirmed that the U.S. should remain committed to the Taiwan Relations Act and Six Assurances.
- January 9, 2017 – After Beijing issued warnings, Rubio said President Tsai and Taiwanese officials are always invited to Florida.
- September 27, 2016 – Rubio introduced the Taiwan Travel Act in the 114th Congress.
- June 24, 2016 – Rubio met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in Miami.
- June 8, 2016 – Rubio co-sponsored an amendment to the NDAA (S. Amdt. 4560) authorizing Taiwanese military officials to wear their uniforms while in the United States, and granting observer status to Taiwanese military forces at Rim of the Pacific exercises.
- May 19, 2016 – Rubio introduced a bipartisan concurrent resolution reaffirming the Taiwan Relations Act and the “Six Assurances” as cornerstones of U.S.-Taiwan relations, which passed the Senate July 7.
- January 16, 2016 – Rubio congratulated Dr. Tsai Ing-wen as Taiwan’s newly-elected president.
- December 17, 2015 – Rubio welcomed the Obama Administration’s announcement of a long-overdue arms sale to Taiwan.
- November 7, 2015 – Rubio called for stronger U.S.-Taiwan relations after a historic meeting between the presidents of China and Taiwan.
- April 3, 2014 – During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Rubio pressed the Obama Administration over its refusal to confirm the “Six Assurances” remain the guiding principles of U.S. policy toward Taiwan.