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   Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (TSEA)

China envoy urges U.S. Senate to kill Taiwan bill

WASHINGTON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - China's envoy to the United States is urging U.S. senators to reject a measure that would establish direct military communications between Taiwan and the United States and expand U.S. training of Taiwanese officers.

In a letter to all 100 senators, Ambassador Li Zhaoxing said the bill -- already approved by the House of Representatives -- threatened to ``destroy the very basis'' of U.S.-Chinese relations.

``This will pose a severe threat to China's security, increase the chances of military confrontation in the Taiwan Straits, and destabilise the Asia-Pacific situation by emboldening the already recalcitrant separatist forces on the island,'' Li wrote in the Feb. 4 letter.

The Clinton administration opposes the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (TSEA). Last week U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said it would have a disastrous impact on relations.

Glickman also told reporters that he did not expect the Senate to approve the legislation.

The Formosan Association for Public Affairs, founded in 1982 by the Taiwanese-American community, released Li's letter on Tuesday and rejected his arguments.

``The TSEA ... does not promote 'everything a Taiwan- independent advocate stands for,' as Mr. Li alleges. We believe the people of Taiwan must determine their own future. We advocate for them to do so in a peaceful environment, free from coercion,'' said the group's president, Chen Wen-yen.

``The TSEA insures U.S. support for this peaceful environment exists,'' he added.

Beijing regards the island as a renegade province and has threatened to invade if Taiwan declares independence.

22:06 02-15-00

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