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   Letter from Helms to Chinese Ambassador

February 9, 2000

His Excellency Li Zhaoxing
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20008

Dear Mr. Ambassador:

I was aghast at recent remarks by your Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington, Liu Xiaoming, regarding the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (TSEA).  Such rhetoric from the second-ranking Chinese official in the United States requires clarification.

On Thursday, February 3, Mr. Liu declared that the consequences of the Congress passing the TSEA would be "more than China recalling its ambassador" and "far worse than Lee Teng-hui's visit to Cornell."

Mr. Ambassador, since the "consequences" of President Lee's visit to Cornell was belligerent military action by your government against peaceful democratic Taiwan, are we to conclude from Mr. Liu's statement that the People's Republic of China will use military force against the Republic of China on Taiwan if the U.S. Congress passes this legislation?

If so, this would certainly represent a departure in policy by your government, which has previously states it would only attack Taiwan if Taiwan declared independence.  It would precisely highlight why swift passage of the TSEA is essential.

Mr. Liu also personally attacked Members of the House of Representatives, declaring that the educational level of most Members (i.e. those who voted for the TSEA) "is only about the level of elementary school" while "those 70 who voted against the TSEA, their understanding of Chinese affairs is only about high-school level."

Members of Congress û no matter how "educated" they may be about China û are not likely to respond positively to the sort of insults and threats issued by Mr. Liu.

Indeed, your government's threatening military buildup and belligerent rhetoric vis-a-vis Taiwan are PRECISELY what has prompted such overwhelming Congressional support for the TSEA.

The Senate will surely be enlightened by a clarification of Mr. Liu's remarks and of your government's policy on the use of force against Taiwan û so that we ourselves can cast an "educated" vote on the TSEA as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

//signed//

JESSE HELMS

 
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