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   Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (TSEA)

Foreign Ops Bill: Administration "shall consult" with Congress on Taiwan Arms Sales

The Congress passed the FY 2001 Foreign Operations Bill on October 25 with a provision requiring the President to "consult, on a classified basis, with appropriate Congressional leaders and committee chairmen and ranking members" regarding arms sales to Taiwan.

Section 581 mandates that, "not less than 30 days prior to the next round of arms talks between the United States and Taiwan," the President shall begin the consultation process regarding:

  1. Taiwan's requests for purchase of defnese articles and defense services during the pending round of arms talks;

  2. The Administration's assessment of the legitimate defense needs of Taiwan, in light of Taiwan's requests; and

  3. The decision-making process used by the Executive branch to consider those requests."

The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA, P.L. 96-8), specifically SECTION 3 states that "The President and the Congress shall determine the nature and quantity of such defense articles and services based solely upon their judgment of the needs of Taiwan, in accordance with procedures established by law. Such determination of Taiwan's defense needs shall include review by United States military authorities in connection with recommendations to the President and the Congress."

The need to cancel a Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Taiwan’s defense requests, scheduled for 2/23/00, because the State Department refused to comply with the Committee’s request for a witness, was but the latest in a twenty-year record of lack of consultation by both Democratic and Republican Administrations.

Last year's Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill has a more modest request, asking that the Secretary of State, "consistent with the intent of Congress expressed in…the Taiwan Relations Act," consult with Congress "to devise a mechanism to provide for congressional input prior to making any determination on the nature or quantity of defense articles and services to be made available to Taiwan."

"Congress is serious about its role as a consulting partner on arms sales to Taiwan," stated Chen Wen-yen, FAPA President. "This is a very clear message to the Administration," Chen continued. "Congress expects the Administration to consult. It is in both the U.S. and Taiwan's interest to have such consultations. This legislation is a good step forward."


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