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Aegis Sales

    Rep. Wexler supports strong self-defense of Taiwan

REP. WEXLER URGES PRESIDENT BUSH  TO BOLSTER TAIWAN’s SELF-DEFENSE

March 23, 2001

On March 22, 2001, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), Member of the House International Relations Committee and the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, wrote to President Bush: "As you know, the United States has a long history of providing Taiwan with weapons and equipment to enhance its defensive capabilities. I hope you keep that commitment and urge you to bolster Taiwan's self-defense capabilities which have not kept up quantitatively or qualitatively with the growing military might of China. Taiwan urgently needs defensive equipment to counterbalance the threat of hundreds of missiles deployed along the coast of China across the Taiwan Strait."

In a two page letter, Congressman Wexler urged President Bush to -during his dealings with China’s Vice Premier Qian Qichen- "send a clear message to the government of China that the United States will continue to strengthen our nation’s long-standing relationship and commitment to the safety and well-being of the people and government of Taiwan."

In his letter, Rep. Wexler expresses his belief that "the new Administration should advocate Taiwan's inclusion in international organizations, including the World Health Organization, World Trade Organization, and the International Monetary Fund."

Rep. Wexler concludes the letter with: "It would be a mistake for the United States to engage China at the expense of our relationship with Taiwan. I believe that this important bi-lateral relationship should be strengthened as it has been over the past several decades with a common commitment to the ideals of freedom and democracy that we as Americans hold sacrosanct."

FAPA President Wen-yen Chen, Ph.D. says: "In politics, timing is everything. The fact that President Bush receives Congressman Wexler’s letter on the very day that the President meets with Qian Qichen adds to the pressure on the White House to sell Taiwan sophisticated self-defensive material such as the Aegis destroyers."

* * * * * * *

ROBERT WEXLER

CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

19TH DISTRICT, FLORIDA


March 22, 2001

The Honorable George W. Bush

President, The United States of AmericaThe White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20502


Dear Mr. President:

It is my understanding that you are meting with Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen and other top officials at the White House today. During these meetings, I would respectfully suggest it is imperative that you send a clear message to the government of China that the United States will continue to strengthen our nation’s long-standing relationship and commitment to the safety and well-being of the people and government of Taiwan.

As you know, deeply strained cross-strait relations between China and Taiwan greatly threaten stability and U.S. interests in East Asia. The United States should support the continuation of cross-strait dialogue with the government of China which I believe will help reduce tensions in the region. I was heartened by the bold decision of Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian to open shipping, transportation, and communication links between two offshore islands, Quemoy and Matsu and mainland China. The Chinese government has signaled that it will support this decision by Taiwan. This confidence building measure is important to a successful cross-strait dialogue, because it signals that the Chinese government, albeit reluctantly, is willing to compromise.

Unfortunately other recent statements released by the Chinese government are contrary to the message of peaceful dialogue and potential co-operation in the straits. For example, a white paper issued by China on October 16, 2000, titled "China's National Defense 2000," stated that "if Taiwan continues to refuse to negotiate on reunification with China, the Chinese government will have no choice but to adopt all drastic measures possible, including the use of force, to safeguard China's sovereignty..." China's failure to renounce the use of military force against Taiwan if prolonged negotiations to reunify the two entities are not successful is unacceptable
and should be condemned by the United States and the international community.

Taiwan should not be bullied into accepting China's "one country, two systems" formulation. As you are aware, the 1979 U.S. Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) reads: "It is the policy of the United States to consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means of grave concern to the United States." As you discuss cross strait relations with Vice Premier Qian Qichen, I urge you to reject any formulation that presupposes the final results of any negotiations between Taipei and Beijing and is not in accordance with the will of the Taiwanese people.

As you know, the United States has a long history of providing Taiwan with weapons and equipment to enhance its defensive capabilities. I hope you keep that commitment and urge you to bolster Taiwan's self-defense capabilities which have not kept up quantitatively or qualitatively with the growing military might of China. Taiwan urgently needs defensive equipment to counterbalance the threat of hundreds of missiles deployed along the coast of china across the Taiwan Strait.

The significant gap between China and Taiwan was acknowledged in a recent report to Congress by the U.S. Pacific Command, Department of Defense, which states "The United States takes its obligation to assist Taiwan in maintaining a self-defense capability very seriously... not only because it is mandated by U.S. law in the Taiwan Relations Act but also because it is in our own national interest. As long as Taiwan has a capable defense, the environment will be more conducive to peaceful dialogue, and thus the whole region will be more stable."

In the context of strengthening relations with Taiwan, I believe that the new Administration should advocate Taiwan's inclusion in international organizations, including the World Health Organization, World Trade Organization, and the International Monetary Fund. It is unconscionable that twenty-three million people living in Taiwan do not have access to the
medical resources of the WHO. At a minimum, Taiwan should be allowed to participate in the activities of the WHO as an observer.

Mr. President, during your campaign, you spoke positively about our nation's strong relationship and commitment to Taiwan. It would be a mistake for the United States to engage China at the expense of our relationship with Taiwan. I believe that this important bi-lateral relationship should be strengthened as it has been over the past several decades with a common commitment to the ideals of freedom and democracy that we as Americans hold sacrosanct.

I look forward to working with you to promote U.S. interests in Asia by further strengthening our relationship with a free, democratic and prosperous Taiwan.

With warm regards,

Sincerely,


Rep. Robert Wexler

cc. Secretary of State Colin Powell

 
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