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    Wexler's Letter to Clinton

March 1, 2000

The Honorable William J. Clinton
President, The United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20502

Dear President Clinton:

I am extremely concerned about the ultimatum issued by the Chinese government in a policy paper on February 21, 2000, stating that China will use military force against Taiwan if prolonged negotiations to reunify the two entities are not successful or are delayed.  Beijing's provocative policy statement echoes similar rhetoric issued by past and present leaders of the Chinese government.  Unfortunately, Beijing has chosen to issue their long-standing threat to invade Taiwan at a time when the people of Taiwan are prepared to vote in their second direct Presidential election on March 18, 2000.  China's actions seriously threaten stability in East Asia and exacerbate already strained tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

As you know, the Chinese government has refused to renounce the use of force against Taiwan and has had a long standing policy of reunifying Taiwan by force if Taiwan declares independence or is occupied by a foreign power.  In 1996, when China launched missiles off the coast of Taiwan to intimidate the Taiwan people prior to their first direct Presidential election you acted with strength and purpose.  Your immediate decision to dispatch two U.S. aircraft carriers to the Taiwan Straits as a show of support for the people of Taiwan was a bold and necessary measure.

The United States should respond diplomatically to Beijing's latest ultimatum that adds an additional circumstance, a delay in reunification, that would allow for Chinese aggression against Taiwan.  We must be willing to support the first democracy in 4,000 years of Chinese history and guarantee that the people of Taiwan will determine their own future by peaceful means.  Finally, Taiwan must not be forced to accepting Beijing's "one country, two system" formulation that presupposes that final result of any future negotiations and it not in accordance with the will of the Taiwanese people.

Mr. President, I know you share my belief that the Chinese government's threat to use force against Taiwan is unacceptable.  In the past, you have urged the Chinese Government to renounce the use of force against Taiwan.  A strong message must be sent to the Chinese government that unification by force without the driect consent of the people of Taiwan, a multi-party democracy, is unacceptable.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments with respect to this important issue.  Peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are in the best interests of the United States.  Finally, as the world's remaining superpower, we must stand by our democratic friend and strategic ally, Taiwan, as they prepare to vote in their next Presidential election.

With warm regards,

Robert Wexler

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