Republic of China honors Senator Jesse Helms

On behalf of Republic of China (ROC) President Chen Shui-bian, Representative C. J. (Chien-Jen) Chen, the ROC's chief representative in the United States, presented Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) with the Order of Propitious Clouds with Grand Cordon October 24 at the senator's office in recognition of his contributions to promoting friendly relations between Taiwan and the United States.

In the citation accompanying the Order, President Chen praised Senator Helms as "an outstanding statesman of profound erudition and vision who has devoted himself to promoting the amicable relations between the United States and the Republic of China."

In a statement made after receiving the award, Senator Helms said he is "humbled to have been honored by the government of the Republic of China, for it is the people of Taiwan-of Democratic China-who deserve American recognition and solidarity."

Senator Helms said, "Since the election of President Lee (Teng-hui) in 1996 and the election of President Chen in 2000, Taiwan has courageously embraced the principles of democracy and freedom in the face of hostility from Beijing."

The retiring senator said that after 30 years in the Senate, "I take great satisfaction in knowing that I have done my best to be helpful in safeguarding Taiwanese sovereignty, security and democracy."

He noted that as he prepared to leave the Senate early next year, he felt confident that "there are other dear friends of Taiwan in the Senate who will be around to stand up for the precious cause. The United States must continue to do whatever is necessary to help Taiwan defend itself."