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   Statement from Gilman

Committee on International Relations

Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman, Chairman

DATE: February 1, 2000


WASHINGTON (February 1) - U.S. Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman (20th-NY), Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, today urged the Clinton administration to "rethink its opposition" to the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act. His full statement follows:

"The passage of the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act today has sent an important message to Beijing that both parties in Congress support improving Taiwan’s security. This vote indicates that there continues to be broad support for the Taiwan Relations Act in Congress and that Congress will continue to stand by our democratic allies in Taiwan in the face of a growing Chinese military threat.

"In summary, this bill: (1) requires the Secretary of Defense to establish direct secure communications between U.S. and Taiwanese armed forces; (2)requires the Secretary of Defense to implement a plan that will enhance operational training and exchanges with senior officers of U.S. and Taiwanese armed forces; (3) requires the Administration to make every effort to reserve additional positions for Taiwanese military officers at U.S. defense schools, including our service academies; (4) requires an increase in the technical staff at the American Institute in Taiwan working on arms transfer matters, when requested by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency; (5) requires the administration to comply with the spirit of section 3(b) of the Taiwan Relations Act by disclosing annually to Congress what defense articles and services Taiwan has requested from the United States, what justification Taiwan provided for each such request, and what decision the Administration made with respect to each such request; and (6) requires reports to Congress from the Administration on the security situation in the Taiwan Strait and the ability of the United States to respond to a major contingency in the Asia-Pacific region where U.S. interests on Taiwan are at risk.

"China has said that this bill, which calls for modest steps between two democracies, will undermine US-China relations. We disagree. What will undermine US-China relations are nuclear espionage, illegal campaign contributions, human rights abuses, the refusal to renounce the use of force against Taiwan and a belligerent military posture across the Taiwan Straits. If Beijing truly cares about US-China relations, it must take steps to address these concerns.

"President Clinton’s advisors are recommending a veto of this bill. In a classic example of Orwellian doublespeak, the administration has asserted that this bill, which clearly enhances Taiwan’s defensive capability, would ‘seriously diminish Taiwan’s security.’ I hope the administration will rethink its opposition to this legislation. The United States should not be intimidated by Beijing’s thuggish attempts at intimidation. "I’d like to thank our Majority Whip, Tom Delay, for leading the House to passage of this important bill. In addition, our Republican Policy Committee Chairman, Chris Cox, played an invaluable role. On our International Relations Committee, our vice chairman, Doug Bereuter, and our Ranking Democratic Member, Sam Gejdenson, proposed a number of important changes and additions that made the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act a better bill. Thank you."

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