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   Dear Colleague Letter from Republican Leadership

Support Democracy and Stability in Asia
Support the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act

Dear Colleague:

On Tuesday, the House will consider bipartisan legislation that reinforces our long-standing relationship with our democratic allies in Taiwan and sends a clear signal to Communist China that the United States commitment to democracy and peace in the region is unwavering.

The Taiwan Security Enhancement Act reinforces the United States’ commitment to Peace through Strength in the Taiwan Strait.  Taiwan’s security is critical to America’s interests.  Taiwan is now America’s seventh largest trading partner, and buys far more from the U.S. than does the PRC.  The sea-lanes surrounding Taiwan are vital to the economic health of Asia and to the sustained growth of U.S. exports to Asia.  Perhaps most important of all, a democratic Taiwan stands as a living example to all of the people of China that they too can build a prosperous, peaceful democracy.

There is tension in the Taiwan Strait today because of the People’s Republic of China’s military build-up and its refusal to renounce the threat of force against democratic Taiwan.  As the Pentagon’s February 1999 report on the military balance between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China notes, the PRC has air superiority and could effect a naval blockade.  The Pentagon report cautions that the People’s Liberation Army has about 100 short-range ballistic missiles targeted at Taiwan and could be expected to deploy up to 650 by the year 2005.

Yet against this threatening backdrop, the level of American arms sales to Taiwan has dropped by half since 1982.  Moreover, the virtual isolation of Taiwan’s military since 1979 has had deleterious effects on Taiwan’s readiness, and American ability to come to Taiwan’s aid.

The TSEA, by enhancing Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities and conveying the message that the U.S. remains committed to fulfilling its obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act, will serve to deter potential Chinese aggression against Taiwan.  Dialogue between China and Taiwan on the issues between them will prove more fruitful if Taiwan feels confident and China recognizes that it cannot dictate the terms for reunification to Taiwan.

Congress must act swiftly to make clear that the United States will continue its longstanding commitment to maintaining the military balance across the Taiwan Strait, and take the steps necessary to enhance America’s security relationship with democratic Taiwan.

We urge you to support the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act when it comes to the House floor on Tuesday.

Sincerely,

Tom Delay
Majority Whip

Dick Armey
Majority Leader

Ben Gilman
Chairman of International Relations Committee

Chris Cox
Chairman of House Policy Committee

 

 
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