WASHINGTON – Five members of the House of Representatives, led by Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., want to renew debate about President Jimmy Carter’s unilateral 1979 decision to sever ties with the elected government of Taiwan in an effort to curry favor with mainland China.

A resolution was introduced in the House Wednesday calling for the Bush administration to scrap its “one China” policy and resume full, formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

In presenting the bill, Tancredo, the leading author of the bipartisan resolution, said that the “one China” policy, in which Washington recognizes Beijing’s stance that Taiwan is a part of China, is pure fiction.

“Taiwan is a free, sovereign and independent country that elects its own leaders,” he said. “It is not, nor has it ever been a local government of communist China — and everyone knows that.”

He said the time has come “to scrap this intellectually dishonest and antiquated policy in favor of a little consistency and honesty.”

“There is absolutely no good reason that the United States cannot maintain the same kind of normal relationship with the democratically elected government in Taiwan that it maintains with the autocratic regime in Beijing,” Tancredo continued.

Tancredo reminded his colleagues that when Carter decided to cut ties with Taiwan and shift U.S. recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, Carter did not consult with Congress.

Tancredo said that despite Carter’s unilateral decision to cut diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the nation has remained a staunch and reliable ally of the U.S.

The bipartisan resolution was jointly introduced by Tancredo and four other lawmakers, including Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican who is chairwoman of the House International Relations Subcommittee.

The Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked the five U.S. representatives for introducing a resolution demanding resumption of diplomatic ties with Taiwan, while analysts said the move could be a reaction to China’s proposed anti-secession law.

“We are grateful for the U.S. Congress’ long-standing support for Taiwan and its participation in international organizations, such as the World Health Organization,” said Victor Chin, director general of the Department of North American Affairs. “We have obtained sufficient understanding of the contents of the resolution.”

China yesterday angrily condemned the resolution to normalize relations with Taiwan and demanded the Bush administration block the bill.

“This is a gross intereference in China’s internal affairs and sends a mistaken signal to Taiwan independence forces,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said. “The Chinese side expresses it strong dissatisfaction and staunch opposition to this. We demand that the U.S. side be fully aware of the severe danger of this motion, seriously honor its commitments to the ‘one China’ policy and take concrete actions to prevent the resolution in the U.S. Congress from passing.”

Earlier stories:

Would U.S. sacrifice Taiwan?

China to practice Taiwan ‘invasion’

China to attack Taipei in 2006?

Beijing threatens Taipei with destruction

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