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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

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Taiwan Visit Bill Passes US House

Forbes and other media outlets are reporting some good news out of Congress (IHT, longer article, same info):

The US House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for the lifting of US government curbs on visits by top Taiwanese leaders.

The House passed the measure by a unanimous voice vote, which supporters said would send a message to China over Taiwan, which the United States is legally bound to defend in any military conflict.

US transit stops by Taiwanese politicians, such as one by President Chen Shui-bian en route to Central America in January, provoke complaints from Beijing, which regards the nationalist island as a renegade province.

The resolution noted that when 'high-level visitors from Taiwan, including the President, seek to come to the US, their request results in a period of complex, lengthy and humiliating negotiations.'

'Lifting these restrictions will help bring a United States friend and ally out of its isolation, which will be beneficial to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,' the text added.

Don't get too excited, though. This is just the kind of thing that leaps through the House, but which the Senate looks at and says "OK, message sent, now we'll let the measure fail." Keep your fingers crossed, knock on wood, and say some sutras. It just might get passed.

Now they need to work on getting more US senior government people out here.

Media notes: Observe those two common formulations -- "the US is legally bound to defend Taiwan" (it isn't) and "China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province." How come nobody ever asks what Taiwan thinks of China?

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