Honorable Colin Powell
Department of State
C Street, N.W.
We are writing to request a change in U.S. policy that
will allow the transfer to Taiwan of the 120 AIM-120 Advanced
Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) sold in 2000.
It is our understanding that it is U.S. policy that
the missiles are not to be released to Taiwan unless there
is evidence that China has similar missiles in its operation
Indeed, developments over the last several weeks suggest
that China has acquired such a capability.
According to recent press reports, China recently conducted
two sets of Russian-made AA-12 Adder medium range air-to-air
We believe that China’s tests of the AA-12s should
trigger the transfer the AIM-120’s to Taiwan as soon as they
are produced. We understand that these missiles are currently under production,
and that the first eight will be finished next month. Furthermore, we are told that there are negotiations underway
for the sale of an additional 286 AIM-120’s, but that Taiwan’s
legislature may not fund another contract unless the State
Department’s policy is changed to allow the actual transfer
of the missiles.
The Defense Department’s June 2000 report on the military
power of the People’s Republic of China concluded that, after
2005, “…if projected trends continue, the balance of air power
across the Taiwan Strait could begin to shift in China’s favor,
assuming no significant, concurrent improvement in Taiwan’s
It is clear that, absent U.S. transfer to Taiwan of
the AIM-120 missiles, the introduction of the AA-12 into China’s arsenal represents a major shift in air power across the Taiwan Strait.
This means that we cannot afford to quibble over whether
the AA-12 tests mean that China has an “operational” capability.
Therefore, we respectfully request that you allow the
AIM-120’s to be released next month, whether it be through
a determination that the trigger has been met, or through
a policy change that recognizes the gravity of the situation. We also strongly urge that the State Department make clear
to Taiwan that the additional AIM-120’s under negotiation
will also be transferred to Taiwan, rather than stored in
Thank you in advance for your prompt consideration
of our request. We
look forward to your reply.