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    Aegis Sales

REPRESENTATIVES URGE PRESIDENT BUSH

TO SELL AEGIS TO TAIWAN

April 20, 2001

Currently in Taiwan, two Republican Members of the House of Representatives wrote a letter to President Bush on April 19, 2001 urging the President to sell Aegis destroyers to Taiwan.

In the letter, Reps. Bob Schaffer (R-CO) and Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) conclude: "We urge you to support Taiwan in its effort to defend itself by approving the sale of the Aegis system, in addition to other sophisticated defenses, including ballistic missile defenses and submarines.[...] Anything less than the approval of the sale of Aegis to Taiwan will jeopardize the strategic balance the United States has committed to maintaining in the region. [...] An independent Taiwan bolsters the cause of freedom around the world and provides stability to countries such as Indonesia struggling for their own systems of democracy."

The Representatives write: "Contrary to your advisors, the U.S. Navy has recommended the sale of Aegis to Taiwan and the Department of Defense has concluded the Taiwanese have the ability to operate and integrate the complex system."

FAPA President Wen-yen Chen Ph.D. states: "Some of Taiwan’s friends in the U.S. Congress believe that the excuse that Taiwan allegedly does not possess the technical ability to deal with Aegis now is in no way a reason to deny approval of the sales. We at FAPA agree with that notion. How can Taiwan have that capability already? We agree with the Members of Congress who believe it is the job of the U.S. to make sure that Taiwan GETS the technical ability. And eight or nine years is plenty of time to do so."

Professor Chen states: "The battle over the Aegis sales to Taiwan is not over. Far from it. "It ain’t over till it’s over," as the American saying goes. Every day the current stand-off over the EP-3 plane in Hainan lasts longer, the chance that the U.S. will sell Aegis to Taiwan grows bigger."

Professor Chen concludes: "It goes without saying that it would be a major boost for Taiwan’s self-defense capability if the United States decides to sell Aegis to Taiwan next week. But let’s not forget that enhancing Taiwan’s self-defense capability is also in the interest of the United States. We completely agree with the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee who stated last week that: "If we do not provide Taiwan with the system today, the day might come that we will have to help Taiwan defend itself, just like we did in March 1996." The Aegis sale to Taiwan can prevent history from repeating itself."

* * * * * *

Congress of the United States

Washington, DC 20515

April 19, 2001

The Honorable George W. Bush

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvanian Avenue, DC 20502

Dear Mr. President:

Last Wednesday, the Asian and American press reported your foreign policy advisors have recommended against the sale of sophisticat4ed Aegis destroyers to Taiwan. It has also been reported your decision is expected by Tuesday April 24. We strongly urge you to approve the sale.

Writing from Taiwan, we are concluding the final days in a week-long series of high-level meetings in Taipei. We have met with Taiwan’s president, vice president, defense minister, legislators and other national leaders. Taiwan’s legitimate need for U.S. destroyers equipped with the Aegis radar and weapons system if urgent. In fact, these naval-based defense systems top the Taiwanese wish list.

The problem lies with china, which regards Taiwan as a breakaway province. Beijing is rattling its saber again, threatening U.S.-China relations will suffer further damage if the sale is made. We say the greater risk is to leave Taiwan’s democracy unnecessarily vulnerable to aggression of any sort.

Since its repossession of Hong Kong, China has made it clear that Taiwan is next on the menu. If the United States stands by as Beijing has its way with this important democracy, we abandon our credibility in the region. With Taiwan under its belt, China would gain the equivalent of an unsinkable aircraft carrier – as well as a permanent blockade to halt shipments of oil and raw materials destined for our allies, including Japan.

Moreover, if China were to gain Taiwan’s industrial and technological might, along with its wealth, the Chinese would be the greatest economic power in Asia, with the ability to strangle America’s high tech industry. That is why so much is at stake in the sale of these destroyers.

Aegis destroyers – with their advanced radar, integrated battle management, and surface-to-air missiles – will provide Taiwan with improved detection and protection against a ballistic missile attack. Satellite imagery has shown china has massed between 300 and 400 short range ballistic missiles against Taiwan, and is expanding that cache by 50 more missiles a year.

Aegis destroyers will also strengthen Taiwan’s air and naval defenses, making the island democracy a force worthy of China’s respect.

Contrary to your advisors, the U.S. Navy has recommended the sale of Aegis to Taiwan and the Department of Defense has concluded the Taiwanese have the ability to operate and integrate the complex system.

The truth is, this sale is about more than standing firm in the face of recent Chinese aggression. It is about maintaining balance and security in the Fare East. It is about maintaining U.S. credibility with our Asian allies. It is about honoring our promise under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act by which the United States agreed to sell Taiwan the weapons needed to maintain an adequate self-defense.

But more to the point, a free Taiwan capable of defending itself is clearly in the interests of the United States, as well as our Asian partners. Japan, with its democratic government and the world’s second largest economy, sees Taiwan as critical to its defense. Taiwan also serves as a shield to South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Perhaps the best reason to stand beside Taiwan at this critical juncture and authorize this sale is the fact it will strengthen the island’s vibrant democracy and free-market system. An independent Taiwan bolsters the cause of freedom around the world and provides stability to countries such as Indonesia struggling for their own systems of democracy.

The recent Chinese downing of an unarmed U.S. reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace and detainment of 24 American crewmen remind us China will seize any opportunity to flex its muscle. Make no mistake: China’s accelerated arms buildup is directed against both Taiwan and the United States. Another example is the 1998 military exercise in which the Chinese simulated missile firings against Taiwan and, for the first time, conducted mock attacks on U.S. troops in the region.

For your administration, this is a critical moment o truth. China’s increasingly aggressive actions argue strongly for a determined U.S. response to restore balance in the Far East beginning with Taiwan. Put bluntly, the Chinese are a threat to peace and stability throughout Asia. We have held a close relationship with Taiwan for more than 50 years; we must stand beside our friends now, when they need us most.

We urge you to support Taiwan in its effort to defend itself by approving the sale of the Aegis system, in addition to other sophisticated defenses, including ballistic defenses and submarines. If we are to avoid escalated conflict with China, America must take this opportunity to show Beijing and the world we are as committed to the causes of maintaining peace and supporting democracy as we are increasing trade.

Anything less than the approval of the sale of Aegis to Taiwan will jeopardize the strategic balance the United States has committed to maintaining in the region. Worse would be the message of weakness conveyed. Now is not the time to go wobbly.

Very truly yours,

Roscoe Bartlett                                               Bob Schaffer

Members of Congress of Maryland                  Member of Congress of Colorado

Mandarin Version

 
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