Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Local Chapter of FAPA Commends Congress Upon 33rd Anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act

My wife was born in Taiwan and immigrated to the United States in 1992 on a fiancée visa, after we met and courted during her 1989-1991 stint in graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin. When we got married, I became what the Taiwanese affectionately call a son-in-law of Taiwan, many of whom are activists in the cause of promoting the interests of the true nationalists from Taiwan, the TI (Taiwanese Identity/Independence) promoting Americans of Taiwanese decent.

I became such an activist not just because of my marriage to a beautiful daughter of Taiwan but because it was the right thing to do and was (and still is) in the strategic interest of the United States. Now, I have the distinct privilege of leading a group of Taiwanese expatriates as the president of the local chapter of the Formosan Association of Public Affairs.

Established in 1982 in Los Angeles, CA, the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) is a world-wide, Washington headquartered, non-profit organization which:
(1) promotes international support for the right of the people of Taiwan to establish an independent and democratic country and to join the international community;
(2) promotes relations and cooperation between Taiwan and the United States;
(3) protects the right of self-determination for the people of Taiwan;
(4) promotes peace and security for Taiwan; and
(5) advances the rights and interests of Taiwanese communities throughout the world.

FAPA's mission is educational. The organization provides US policy makers, the media, scholars and the general public with information on issues related to Taiwan. FAPA informs and updates Members of Congress and their staff on Taiwanese issues. FAPA seeks to articulate the point of view of the people of Taiwan.

Today, April 10th is the 33rd Anniversary of a seminal event in the history of Taiwan which has given its people time and hope for eventual national self-determination. It's the day each year that Taiwanese Americans stand still for a moment to express gratitude in some way, shape or form to their adopted nation, the great and proud nation of the United States of America, for helping ensure that Taiwan keeps it's identity as a free and separate country from China for as long as the people of Taiwan will it to be.

The relationship between Taiwan and the United States is almost seven decades old, now. But when the Carter Administration shifted diplomatic relations from our friend and ally Taiwan to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in January 1979, Taiwan was left vulnerable to annexation by China. In response, Congress quickly passed the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) to ensure that the United States would continue its robust engagement with Taiwan in the areas of security, commerce and culture. Most importantly, with its security guarantees the TRA enabled Taiwan to continue functioning as the de facto independent country it is today.

On April 10, 1979, with the signature of President Carter who had presided over the diplomatic disaster the put Taiwan at risk vis-a-vis the PRC, the TRA became the "Law of the Land," the statutory basis for US–Taiwan relations. Thirty-three years later, it stands as a model of Congressional leadership. Together with President Reagan's "Six Assurances" (which served as further guidelines for U.S.- Taiwan relations) the TRA remains the cornerstone of a mutually beneficial relationship between the US and Taiwan.  

In affirming "the preservation and enhancement of the human rights of all the people on Taiwan" as explicit objectives, the framers of the TRA in large measure made Taiwan what it is today—a vibrant, open society governed by democratic institutions.

Still, China persists in irrationally claiming Taiwan as a "renegade province," refusing to renounce the use of force against the free choice of the people of Taiwan, should they make any move toward formalization of their nation's independence. Taiwanese live under an ominous shadow cast by over 1400 short and medium-range ballistic Chinese missiles aimed at them, a fact Texas Congressman Michael T. McCaul (R, TX-10) recently made mention of in remarks he read into the Congressional Record to commemorate the anniversary of the TRA.

The TRA makes it quite clear and emphatic that diplomatic relations with China are based on the expectation that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means. The principled stance contained in the TRA has been instrumental in maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait for more than thirty years, in spite of the growing military threat posed by China.

In gratitude and appreciation to Congress, I invite all Taiwanese Americans, indeed all freedom loving American to join me in commemorating today, April 10, 2012 as the 33rd anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act.

You’re invited to a free film screening of a feature film about Taiwan

To educate Texans on the development of democracy in Taiwan from the perspective of the 85% of Taiwan’s population who did not come to Taiwan as refugees from China after World Word II or descend from these Chinese Nationalists, the Central Texas chapter of the Formosan Association of Public Affairs will hold a screening of the 2010 feature film, Formosa Betrayed starring James Van Der Beek, Tzi Ma, Will Tiao, John Heard, and Wendy Crewson. The film will be shown in the Capitol Extension Auditorium on May 10, 2012 at 7:00 PM under the legislative sponsorship of Rep. Jason Isaac (R, HD-45).

If you are interested in attending this free screening of this feature film please RSVP to dadofping@sbcglobal.net by May 8, 2012.

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