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Letter from Jesse Helms, Trent Lott, Paul Coverdell and Connie Mack to President Clinton (7/21/99)

United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
July 21, 1999

The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are shocked over the postponement of arms sale notifications for Taiwan and reports that the administration is considering
additional punitive measures to express displeasure over President Lee’s recent remarks on Taiwan's status.

We are also dismayed over the current missions to Beijing and Taipei by senior administration officials. Given the suspension of
arms sales notifications and meetings and your administration's obvious verbal tilt toward Beijing during this latest flap, there is
good reason to suspect that these missions will be designed to pressure Taiwan into backing off its recent policy statements.

Not only would this be an unforgivable affront to our friends in Taiwan, it would be a grave strategic blunder. Nothing could do
more to increase the chances of Beijing precipitating a military crisis than for your administration to attempt to strong arm
Taiwan and force them to back down. And Mr. President, few things could do more to poison the well between the
administration and Republicans in Congress.

Rather than appeasing China and seeking to pressure Taiwan, your emissaries this week ought to deliver a sharp message to
Beijing which denounces their hysterical reactions and pointedly reminds them of our legal and moral defense obligations to
Taiwan. Further, your emissaries should tell both sides that while we do not take a stand on the exact nature of Taiwan's status,
we fully support democratically-elected President Lee and the people of Taiwan in their search for greater international status.

Mr. President, although the issues between Taiwan and China are complex, the simple truth is that Taiwan is a democracy and a
friend of the United States, while the Peoples Republic of China is neither. Our policy must be based on this vital distinction.

We look forward to receiving your timely response.
 

Sincerely,
 
 

Jesse Helms & Trent Lott

Paul Coverdell & Connie Mack

 


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