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Posts from September 2011
“The Taiwan Policy Act of 2011” stresses political, economic, and security rejuvenation

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) became an original co-sponsor of Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's legislation, introduced today, to strengthen the Taiwan Relations Act and enhance commercial and cultural relations between the United States and Taiwan. As the first democratic republic in Asia, Taiwan has proven to be a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy in the region, and continues to share many common values with the United States.

"Our friends in Taiwan face many challenges. China’s continued belligerent actions in the South China Sea are a serious cause for concern to Taiwan, and America. That is why this legislation is so timely. We need to bolster our support for Taiwan to promote peace and security in the region," said Royce.

This legislation takes important steps to bolster U.S.-Taiwan diplomatic relations and Taiwan’s status in international organizations. Specifically, the bill calls for the Secretary of State to endorse meaningful participation for Taiwan at the International Civil Aviation Organization. It also calls on cabinet-level officials to engage in people-to-people exchanges, something that has not occurred since 2000.

"For too long, Taiwan has been left out of international organizations. Despite being home to the world’s 18th busiest airport, Taiwan has been kept out of an organization that aims to keep passengers safe. The 35 million passengers that travel to and from Taiwan each year are done a great disservice by Taiwan’s exclusion," said Royce.

Trade relations between the U.S. and Taiwan are also a key part of the introduced bill. Significantly, the bill calls for the United States Trade Representative to "resume" Trade and Investment Framework Agreement negotiations with Taiwan and states that a free trade agreement with Taiwan should be the ultimate goal of trade negotiations.

"Both of our countries have built their economies, and their trade relationship, on economic freedom," said Royce. "We should begin negotiations for an FTA with Taiwan as soon as possible. It’s a win for the U.S. and a win for Taiwan."

"This legislation puts pressure on the administration to honor our commitments to Taiwan, and will help ensure that Taiwan has the defense capabilities it needs to defend itself," said Royce.

Rep. Royce is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and is an active member of the Friends of Taiwan Caucus.


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, made the following statement during today's hearing entitled, "U.S.-India Counterterrorism Cooperation: Deepening the Partnership":

Our hearing comes soon after our 9/11 memorials, and as India has once again suffered a terrorist attack. Last week, a powerful bomb decimated part of one of New Delhi’s high-profile courthouses, killing a dozen and injuring scores. A few months ago, a coordinated triple bombing struck Mumbai during rush hour. Indian authorities are still searching for answers.

July’s coordinated Mumbai attack brought back the horrors of 26/11. Three years ago, a coordinated rampage rocked this great city, killing 166, including six Americans. But unlike in 2008, this time India authorities responded more capably, though there is still frustration in India. Defending an open country of India’s size is no easy task. Mumbai is particularly challenging, with a population of 20 million.

Fortunately, there are good opportunities for the U.S. to increase its counterterrorism cooperation with India. The two countries have worked together on this for over a decade. But by all accounts, this cooperation substantially improved after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, when investigators from both countries stood shoulder-to-shoulder in response.

The Counterterrorism Cooperation Initiative, Homeland Security Dialogue and other working groups plug along. This April, the FBI, working with the Indian Home Ministry, hosted 39 senior police executives from across India in Los Angeles, where they participated in an exchange on counterterrorism, crisis response and megacity policing. They visited the FBI’s Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory in Orange, California, to be trained in all aspects of digital evidence recovery.

This is good, but I’d like to get to a point where our counterterrorism exchanges are just as high-profile, numerous and unprecedented as our combined military exercises. I think Secretary Clinton had it right this July when she stressed in India “how important it is that we get results” from all of our counterterrorism agreements.

Let’s be clear: this is more than just helping a democratic ally. There are real, hard U.S. interests at stake. Simply put, the militants targeting India are also targeting us.

Indeed, at a Subcommittee hearing on the “Future of al-Qaeda” after bin Laden’s death, many experts placed just as much importance on Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba as any al-Qaeda affiliate. LeT India's mortal enemy, has gone global, with Western targets in its sights.

This week Vice President Biden said of Pakistan, “they have to get better…We are demanding it.” But are we?

Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. has begun to condition security assistance to Pakistan on a “secret scorecard of U.S. objectives to combat al-Qaeda and its militant allies.” Although details are classified, from the Journal’s reporting, it does not seem that the U.S. has put emphasis on Pakistan making further progress on the Mumbai attackers or LeT in this “scorecard.”

This is shortsighted, and is getting in the way of greater cooperation with India. As one witness will testify, “the U.S. cannot allow its national security to be held hostage by nearly two decades of unfulfilled expectations in Pakistan.”

In the past decade, U.S. relations with India have grown considerably. But we’ve hit a lull. Counterterrorism cooperation is a way to reinvigorate this relationship, and better protect America.


Congressman Grimm: Funding a UN that gives leadership positions to Cuba, North Korea is ‘Definition of insanity and it has to stop’

Washington, D.C.— U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, made Chairman Ros-Lehtinen Opening Statement at Press Conference yesterday at a press conference she hosted to discuss the United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act (H.R. 2829), which she authored. The bill gives the U.S. greater say over what our taxdollars pay for at the United Nations, and uses the threat of withholding U.S. contributions as leverage to push for real reforms at the UN. Please click Ros-Lehtinen UN Reform Information for more information on the bill.

The following bill co-sponsors also participated in the press conference:

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Chief Deputy Whip & Co-Chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia
Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY), Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs & Congressional UN Rep
Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH), Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Vice Chairman of the House Budget Committee
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), Co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL)
Rep. Allen West (R-FL)

Ros-Lehtinen’s full statement is available Ros-Lehtien's Full Statement. The following are excerpts from remarks made by Ros-Lehtinen and other Members during the press conference:

Chairman Ros-Lehtinen: “This bill is about reforming the UN so that it can work again—not trying to bash the UN, or take the U.S. out of the UN. Why is our bill necessary? Well, last year, as our nation faced a struggling economy, skyrocketing deficits, and crushing debt, the Obama Administration contributed 7.7 billion dollars of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the UN—21 percent more than we contributed the year before. What did U.S. taxpayers get in return for all of that money? We got a UN that is increasingly non-transparent, unaccountable, ineffective, biased against the U.S., Israel, and other free democracies.”


“But some have called our legislation ‘backwards. And I will address that issue right now. I don’t think it’s backwards to demand transparency, accountability, and reform. But I do think the adjective ‘backwards’ too often applies to what we’re paying for at the UN. We pay for a backwards UN Human Rights Council, where human rights abusers like China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia have hijacked that body and use it to demonize democratic states, like Israel, while real human rights abuses around the world are often ignored.”


“But there is a simple, common sense alternative, and that’s the principle that our bill is based upon: shifting funding for the UN to a voluntary basis, so that the American people, through their elected representatives, will get to choose how much of their tax dollars go to the UN and what the money is spent on. This will change the current culture of entitlement at the UN…We hope that the Administration will reconsider and join our cause, the cause of millions of Americans who are tired of seeing their tax dollars too often go to waste at a UN that fails to live up to its founding principles.”

Chief Deputy Whip Roskam: “We’re in a new reality as it relates to fiscal obligations that the United States have…[On] the notion of borrowing 40 cents on every dollar, asking the American taxpayers to sacrificially give to an organization that is running completely counter, in many examples, to our foreign policy goals for stability, for transparency, and a whole host of things that the United States historically stood up for, the American public has said ‘enough.’”

Congressman Chabot: “When you consider the tax dollars that go [to the United Nations] in these particularly tough economic times when we’re trying to convince the American people that sacrifices need to be made, and the amount of money we send to the United Nations, and the percentage of countries that vote against us up there time and time again, it almost makes your head explode.”

Congressman Grimm: “The United States wastes money constantly and we know it. In this Congress, especially the freshman class was sent here to stop wasting money…People that are struggling to put food on the table and give their children a better education have to hear that we are funding an organization that wants to recognize Libya and Cuba as leaders on issues like human rights and arms reduction. It’s the definition of insanity and has to stop.”

Congresswoman Schmidt: “We in Congress have to look at every penny we are spending, and we have to say to ourselves: is this the right way to spend the taxpayers’ dollars?…We’re the largest contributor not only to the general fund but to the other funds as well. And when you look at what we’re getting in return, we’re getting a UN General Assembly that seems to fly in the face of what’s right in the world, and what is important and what is right for America.”

Congressman West: “The United Nations is a body-politic that was begun coming out of WWII that had great promise; it is now just a den where the voices that are most heard are those of despots, dictators, and autocrats, and we must change that around…It is time for us to be good stewards of American taxpayer dollars and tell the United Nations that you must return back to the original intent for which you were created, post WWII, or else we will withhold the funding to you.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, made the following opening statement earlier today at a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing examining U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority. For more information on the hearing, titled “Promoting Peace? Reexamining U.S. Aid to the Palestinian Authority, Part II,” please click Congressman Chabot Opening Statement.

Statement by Chabot:

“Since taking office, President Obama has reiterated numerous times his belief that the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of America’s ‘core interests’ in the Middle East. Over the past two years, however, even as the Palestinian leadership has repeatedly retreated from a meaningful peace process, American assistance has remained unchanged. Plainly speaking, a fundamental disconnect has formed between our aid policy and our policy objectives.

“I recently travelled to Israel and the West Bank where I was able to witness firsthand the tremendous gains that have been made on the ground. Indeed, the two most prominent features of the Ramallah landscape are construction cranes and unfinished buildings. Unfortunately the current Palestinian leadership appears all too willing to sacrifice the achievements of Prime Minister Fayyad’s state-building effort in the name of political theatrics. Instead of capitalizing on these gains through honest negotiations with Israel, the Palestinian leadership seems to be dead-set on pursuing a path of unilateralism before the UN Security Council and/or the General Assembly this September.
True Israeli-Palestinian peace can only be made between two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians, and not the 191 other participants at the General Assembly. If decades of frustration have taught us nothing else, it is that the road to Palestinian statehood does not start in New York, and it is not the place of the United States, the United Nations or any other country or institution to short-circuit the requisite negotiations between the two parties. Indeed, a unilateralism is simply rejectionism by another name.

“For years we have invested heavily both money and effort to help the Palestinians build a state for themselves, and it is irrefutable that our work has yielded results. The security gains on the ground in the West Bank have enabled unprecedented economic growth. Israelis have felt comfortable making security concessions that would have been unthinkable even a few years ago. But just because our current aid policy has yielded results, that does not mean that it is currently or that it will in the future. Under the best economic conditions, U.S. aid should not be an ever-flowing stream of taxpayer money; under the current economic conditions it simply cannot be.

“The fact of the matter is that we are rapidly approaching a watershed moment in U.S.-Palestinian relations. Both the potential reconciliation government with Hamas and the unilateral campaign at the UN could not be more contrary to U.S. interests in the region. Rejectionist elements within the Palestinian leadership still refuse to sit and negotiate in good faith even as Israel reiterates its commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state. Time and again, Israel has demonstrated its commitment to a Palestinian state living as its neighbor in peace and security. But there are no shortcuts on the path to this outcome, and there is no getting around the hard concessions that will have to be made. Although short-term security may be achievable unilaterally, peace is not; Palestinian rejectionism — whether by Hamas or Fatah — must be abandoned.

“If the Palestinians continue on their current path, the question before this Congress will not be what portion of our aid will be cut, but rather what portion will remain.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) slammed the U.S. Department of State as it released its Annual Report on International Religious Freedom. The State Department failed to list Vietnam as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) for violations of religious freedom, a recommendation that was made by the congressionally-mandated U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

"The State Department’s failure to list Vietnam as a CPC is a grave mistake," said Royce. "The fact remains that no religious group is immune from government coercion and harassment. Buddhists, Catholics, and Evangelicals alike face the heavy hand of Vietnamese government tyranny if they step outside its tight restrictions."

"This report is even more disappointing given Secretary Clinton’s remarks in Hanoi last year, where she said human rights concerns are raised at all levels, both in Vietnam and Washington. When given the opportunity for concrete action, however, the State Department fell flat," said Royce.

Although the State Department’s report gives credit to Vietnam for improving in some areas, it notes that religious groups like Protestants and Buddhists still face government sanctioned violence.

"As the current state of human rights and religious freedom in Vietnam is deplorable, the State Department’s decision not to relist Vietnam as a CPC is extraordinarily short-sighted. Secretary Clinton’s call for Vietnam to value the rights of its citizens look like empty words," said Royce.

Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has designated countries that "engage in or tolerate particularly severe violations of religious freedom," as "Countries of Particular Concern."

Due to Vietnam's egregious human rights violations, the State Department had listed it as a CPC from 2004-2006. This subjected Vietnam to sanction, according to law. In 2006, however, the State Department removed Vietnam from this annual list.

"When Vietnam was placed on the CPC list, we saw some positive changes. Unfortunately, when it was released in 2006, Vietnam ramped up its persecution. The State Department’s failure to relist Vietnam does its people a great disservice," said Royce.

Furthermore, the State Department failed to follow the prescription of a House of Representatives Royce-passed resolution that calls for Vietnam to be relisted as a CPC.

Ed Royce is the author of H.Res.16, a resolution calling on the State Department to relist Vietnam as a CPC. Royce is also a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Subcommittee on Asia, as well as the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam.

Washington, D.C.— U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, will host a press conference on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. to discuss H.R. 2829, the United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act, which places conditions on U.S. funding to the United Nations.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), Chief Deputy Whip & Co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia
Rep. Ann Buerkle (R-NY), Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs & Congressional Rep. to UN
Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH), Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Vice Chairman of the House Budget Committee
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), Co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR), Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL)
Rep. Allen West (R-FL)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011
10:30 a.m.

Rayburn, 2200

For more information on H.R. 2829, please read here. For a copy of the legislation, please click here.

Note: Please contact Andrew Lee if you plan on attending.
WASHINGTON, NJ - China’s brutal “One Child Policy” and its gross violations of human rights, particularly those of women, was the focus of human rights activists testifying before the House on Thursday.

Congressman Chris Smith, chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees human rights and chairman of the Congressional-Executive China Commission, held a hearing entitled “China's One-Child Policy: The Government's Massive Crime Against Women and Unborn Babies.”

“Women bare the major brunt of the one child policy not only as mothers,” Smith said. “Due to the male preference in China’s society and the limitation of the family size to one child, the policy has directly contributed to what is accurately described as gendercide—the deliberate extermination of a girl—born or unborn—simply because she happens to be female. As a result of the Chinese government’s barbaric attack on mothers and their children, there are some 100 million more males than females in China today. It has been noted that the three most dangerous words in China today are: “it’s a girl!” Click here to read Chairman Smith's opening remarks

Witnesses testified about China’s harsh population control program. Smith called China’s one child policy “cruel and barbaric” noting that pregnant women without birth permits are hunted down and that there are no single moms in China.

"In the next two to three decades, we are likely to see observable security ramifications of the masculinization of China’s young adult population, especially when combined with an understanding of the consequences of global aging, the particularities of Chinese nationalism, and the epidemiology of pandemics such as AIDS," said witness Valerie Hudson, author of the book “Bare Branches.”. "Indeed, some of these ramifications are already coming into view. China’s contempt for its daughters may lead to a more dangerous world not only for the Chinese themselves, but for everyone." Click here to read testimony of Prof. Valerie Hudson
Witness Ji Yeqing, who had one daughter and whose husband's family strongly desired a son, told the subcommittee that Chinese government agents visited her and told her Chinese law decreed that the second child was forbidden.

"Even if it was born, the child could not be registered and would not be able to attend school," she said. "More than the fines, we would be fired from our jobs with a child that would never be registered by the census. But this time we were not afraid. We were willing to take the punishment of fines and losing our jobs. It wasn’t as important to us as our child." Click here to read the tragic testimony of Ji Yequing,, victim of the One Child Policy.

Chai Ling, former student leader at Tiananmen Square, founder of All Girls Allowed, decried the brutal population control methods the government imposes on women, especially single pregnant women.

"It is an insidious policy causing the society to immediately demand an abortion for any woman without a birth permit, married or not," Chai said. "To refuse would be illegal but most unmarried women like me don’t even dare to ask and certainly don’t tell others about it but silently suffer in a country with the highest female suicide rate in the world, 500 women a day every day."Click here to view the testimony of Chai Ling, another victim of the One Child Policy.

Another witness reminded the subcommittee that human rights activist Chen Guangchen, one of Time Magazine's 2006 Top 100 People Who Shape Our World and winner of the the 2007 Magsaysay award, known as Asia's Nobel Prize, was imprisoned and remains under house arrest to this date for his work on reporting about the population control program.

"Blind activist Chen Guangcheng was arrested in 2006 for helping to expose the Chinese government's use of forced sterilization and abortions to enforce its One Child Policy," said Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers. "He amassed evidence that 130,000 forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations were performed on women in Linyi County, Shandong Province in a single year. Click here to read the testimony of Reggie Littlejohn
Liu Ping, born in 1958 in Tianjin, China, came to the United States in 1999. She detailed how co-workers are coerced to report co-workers who become pregnant.

"Before coming to America, I worked in a state-owned textile factory in Tianjin," Liu said. "The majority of the workers in the factory were women, many of whom were also of reproductive age, so the Family Planning Policy was implemented especially strictly. I am simply one of these many women whose lives were destroyed by the policy." Click here to view the testimony and story of Ping Liu, victim of the One Child Policy.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, issued the following statement during today's hearing entitled, "Job Creation Made Easy: The Colombia, Panama, and South Korea FTAs":

The Trade Subcommittee I now chair held a hearing on the pending free trade agreement with South Korea in June 2007, over four years ago!

It's nearing the end of 2011, and the Obama Administration, which supposedly backs KORUS, still hasn't submitted it --or Colombia or Panama-- to Congress. We wait.

Well, others don't.

In July, a South Korea-European Union free trade agreement entered into force --one patterned after the agreement the U.S. took pain to negotiate with the South Koreans.

This South Korea-EU agreement has real consequences, and they aren't good for us. European exporters instantly became more competitive against American exporters in the important South Korean market.

In fact, in the first month after the entry-into-force of this agreement, EU exports to Korea were up 36 percent, one witness will tell us. Meanwhile, U.S. exports to Korea increased by just 3 percent, so U.S. market share in Korea is in decline. There is no way getting around it: the Administration's delay has meant lost American jobs.

The same thing is happening with Colombia and Panama, which have agreements with other countries that effectively penalize American companies. Yet the Administration fiddles.

So we can either stay the course and lose jobs, an estimated 345,000 if KORUS isn't ratified, or approve it and generate some $10 billion in added job-creating exports. That's 70,000 jobs, according to the Obama Administration.

This delay is all the more troubling given that it's happening with such a close ally as South Korea, a country we've had a defense partnership with for sixty years. Frankly, I'm not sure that this Administration even grasps the importance of traditional allies, whether it be South Korea, Japan, the UK or Israel.

I'm hopeful that the Administration has seen the light of late, felt the heat of lost American jobs, and will soon submit these agreements to Congress for consideration. As we'll hear today, it's far beyond time to act.

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