Record: February 22, 2000 (Senate)]
Floor Statement by Senator Tim Hutchinson, R-AZ on February
SUPPORT OF THE TAIWAN SECURITY ENHANCEMENT ACT
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Mr. President, I was deeply distressed with
the news over the weekend of China's new ultimatum regarding
Taiwan and the front-page, above-the-fold story in the Washington
Post today. I think
the headline summarizes the situation:
China Issues New Taiwan Ultimatum: Delay in Reunification
Would Spur Use of Force.
It seems that mainland China cannot stand democracy. It is
almost as if they have a visceral antipathy to freedom. I
went to Taiwan last month--the Presiding Officer accompanied
me on that visit to the Pacific rim--and had the opportunity
to visit with the President of Taiwan and numerous officials.
One of the things that struck me as we disembarked the plane
and I looked off the tarmac was a whole press contingent,
more than we had seen in, say, Japan or South Korea; a media
contingent--cameras, reporters--shouting questions at us.
thought, even as we walked toward them, democracy has certainly
arrived and democracy has blossomed in Taiwan because one
of the signal signposts, I believe, of democracy is an independent
and a vigorous and
aggressive media. That was certainly evident in Taiwan.
One of the first questions shouted to our delegation, the
Senator from Wyoming will remember, was: Will China attempt
to disrupt our Presidential elections as they did before?
My answer was: I certainly hope not because it did not succeed
before and it won't succeed this time.
Four years ago, China launched missiles off the coast of Taiwan,
hoping to disrupt a cornerstone of democracy in Taiwan, its
Presidential elections. That effort failed both because of
aircraft carriers and the determination of the Taiwanese people
not to be intimidated out of their freedom.
Next month, on March 18, the thriving democracy of Taiwan
will once again hold Presidential elections, and once again
it seems that the Chinese Government hopes to disrupt those
Just yesterday, China issued a new threat to democratic Taiwan.
In an official new white paper on Taiwan, the Chinese Government
If the Taiwan authorities refuse, sine die, the peaceful settlement
of cross-Straits reunification through negotiations, then
the Chinese government will be forced to adopt all drastic
measures possible, including the use of force.
In other words, ``Negotiate or face invasion'' was effectively
the ultimatum issued by the Chinese Government.
No longer is the bar set at a declaration of independence
or occupation by a foreign power; now it includes refusing
to negotiate reunification--a dialog that was broken off by
the Chinese Government.
This is, in effect, a blank check that the Chinese Government
has written themselves, making a subjective judgment on this
new, ambiguous standard they have established.
Taiwan is not a military threat to China, and no one in the
world believes it is. If it is a threat, it is an ideological
threat. A burgeoning Chinese society, less than 100 miles
across the Strait, with increasing freedoms of religion, speech,
and press--freedoms that are stifled on the mainland--the
Chinese Government can't stand this shining contrast to its
own totalitarian system. That is why China is pulling down
the threshold for invasion and building up its arms pointed
I suggest it is no accident that earlier this month the first
of four Russian Sovremenny-class guided missile destroyers
sailed into Chinese waters. I suggest it is no accident this
destroyer is equipped with surface-to-surface missiles designed
specifically to destroy American Aegis ships and aircraft
carriers, America's ships that would come to the defense of
It is no accident that China has ordered Kilo-class submarines
equipped with torpedoes designed to evade detection. It is
no accident that China has deployed short-range ballistic
missiles in the provinces just across the Taiwan Strait. It
is no accident that China has flown over 100 sorties over
the Taiwan Strait, many with Russian-bought SU-27s.
We must not tempt intimidation with ambiguity. We must not
tempt aggression with weakness.
I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 1838, the Taiwan Security
Opponents of this act have held this out as being somehow
bellicose, somehow threatening. I suggest to all my colleagues
in the Senate they simply read what the Taiwan Security Enhancement
Act says. Our colleagues in the other body passed this legislation
by an overwhelming vote of 341-70 earlier this month. The
Taiwan Security Enhancement Act will bring greater clarity
to our relations with Taiwan and China by increasing military
exchanges with Taiwan, by establishing a direct military communications
link with Taiwan, and by reestablishing Congress as a consultant
in the annual arms sales process--as intended and required
by the Taiwan Relations Act--which at least, supposedly, governs
our relations with Taiwan.
Just last month, General Xiong Guangkai, the Deputy Chief
of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army and a
former head of Chinese intelligence said, ``. . . we will
never commit ourselves to renouncing the use of force.'' The
irony is that this general did not make this statement while
he was in China. He said this right here in Washington while
he was being hosted by the Clinton-Gore administration.
This reveals the irony of the situation. We have greater military
exchanges with a country that points ballistic missiles at
us than we do with a democratic ally. The State Department
prohibits our senior military officers from meeting with their
Taiwanese counterparts. Instead, the focus is on their
Chinese counterparts. Isn't it ironic. I was visiting--I
will not mention their names--with leading Army officials,
some of whom had served in Taiwan many years ago, and they
pointed out to me the irony that while they can hold talks
with leading Communist Chinese military leaders, they cannot
so much as go to Taiwan and meet with the military leadership
in Taiwan, a democratic entity.
It is only a matter of common sense that in the event of a
crisis--a crisis now more likely--we should be able to communicate
with the Taiwanese military--the people we may be called to
defend. Opponents of this bill claim that ambiguity
is good. But there is nothing ambiguous about the Chinese
position. The Chinese White Paper even specifically opposed
the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act. I suggest we should
not be ambiguous about our support for democracy in Asia,
nor should we apologize to China for helping Taiwan to defend
I believe China has made itself clear on the Taiwan issue.
So should we.
I thank the Chair, and I yield the floor.