The Chinese ambassador is warning the Senate that a House-passed
bill to increase U.S. military support for Taiwan threatens
China's security and increases the chance of war in the
Ambassador Li Zhaoxing, in a letter to all 100 senators,
called the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (TSEA) a threat
to U.S.-Chinese relations.
"Congress should approach the Taiwan issue with extra caution,"
Mr. Li wrote.
"Failure to do so may entail explosive developments and
risk unraveling of what our two countries have worked so
hard and so long to build.
"The last thing Congress can do, as I see it, is to make
the ill-conceived and counterproductive TSEA into law."
Mr. Li warned that provisions in the bill to provide more
U.S. arms to Taiwan pose "a severe threat to China's security,
increases the chances of military confrontation in the Taiwan
Strait and destabilizes the Asia-Pacific situation by emboldening
the recalcitrant separatist forces on the island."
Mr. Li complained that the bill "fans up a 'China threat'
"How can China-U.S. relations be expected to go forward
. . . when such a threadbare Cold-War technique is put to
use against a country that is concentrating on domestic
economic development while seeking to build toward a constructive
strategic partnership with the United States," he wrote.
The bill, sponsored by Majority Whip Tom DeLay, passed the
House Feb. 2 on a vote of 341-70. Mr. Li wrote his Senate
letter two days later.
A spokesman for the Texas Republican dismissed the ambassador's
"Mr. DeLay doesn't need recommendations from communist China,"
said spokesman Jonathan Baron. "The great threat to U.S.-Chinese
relations is the profound level of Chinese repression."
In his Senate letter, Mr. Li blamed the Formosan Association
for Public Affairs (FAPA) for inspiring the Taiwan bill.
"It is the brainchild of the infamous FAPA, a locally registered
pro-independence Taiwan lobby whose job is to get U.S. politicians
as well as legislation to advance their separatist cause,"
Mr. Li wrote.
FAPA President Chen Wen-yen, whose organization supplied
a copy of the ambassador's letter to Embassy Row yesterday,
said the group is not a registered lobbyist but a private
advocate of Taiwan independence.
"We are also proud of our role in gathering support for
the TSEA," Mr. Chen said in a statement.
Mr. Li's warning to the Senate was sent before his exchange
of letters with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman
Jesse Helms, which were featured in Monday's Embassy Row
The North Carolina Republican was angered by statements
by Mr. Li's deputy, Liu Xiaoming, who bluntly warned the
House against passing the Taiwan bill.
Mr. Helms said he was "aghast" at Mr. Liu's comments, which
reflected the ambassador's statements in his Senate letter.
Mr. Li defended his deputy and replied he was "quite baffled"
by Mr. Helms' "bombardment of attacks" against Mr. Liu.