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   Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (TSEA)

On June 7, 1999 Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Rep. Peter Deutsch (D-FL) issued a Dear Colleague letter urging all their fellow Members of the House of Representatives to co-sponsor the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (HR1838). This is the text of the letter:


Congress of the United States
                  WASHINGTON, DC 20515

 June 7, 1999




Dear Colleague:

The threat to the Taiwanese people from the People's republic of China is on the rise. With Hong Kong's reabsorption into China almost complete and the handover of Macau scheduled for this December is now turning its attention to another of its ultimate goals: the reunification of Taiwan.

One lever Beijing uses in pursuit of this goal is intimidation. According to the Pentagon's report to Congress this year, China is engaged in a major buildup of ballistic missiles on its coast directly across the strait from Taiwan. The report also describes other aspects of China's military buildup, including the purchase or indigenous development of advanced jet fighters, warships, submarines, cruise missiles and other hardware, coupled with increased efforts to improve
China's logistical capabilities for a Taiwan invasion scenario.

Beijing is simultaneously increasing pressure on the U.S. to limit or crease our sales to Taiwan of defensive weaponry. Obviously, this is precisely the time to do the opposite and remain steadfast by continuing to meet our obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act - in which the U.S. promised to provide Taiwan with the means to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability- in order to maintain a balance of power in the region.

It is important now that Congress review America's defense relationship with Taiwan and the virtual isolation Taiwan's military has operated in for almost twenty years. The Cold War-era policies of not conducting exercises with Taiwan, not having direct communications with Taiwan's military, and prohibiting U.S. flag officers from visiting Taiwan need to be re-examined as well in light of China's cross-strait build-up and other military endeavors.

Toward this end, we introduced the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (H.r.1838) with International Relations Committee Chairman Ben Gilman and other members on May 18th. The bill has three main thrusts:

(1) Ensuring that Taiwan has the necessary equipment to maintain its self-defense capabilities - as promised under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 - by authorizing the sale to Taiwan of a broad array of equipment and defensive weapons;

(2) Bolstering the process for such defense sales to Taiwan by prohibiting politically motivated reductions in arms sales, requiring an increase in staffing at the currently overworked technical section at the American Institute in Taiwan, and requiring an annual Presidential report to congress on Taiwan's defense needs;

(3) Redressing deficiencies in Taiwan's readiness by supporting increased Taiwanese participation at U.S. defense colleges, expanded military exchanges and joint training and establishing direct communications between our militaries.

If you have questions or would like to cosponsor, please call John Mashburn at 5-0197 or Beth Tritter at 5-7931.

Sincerely yours,

Tom Delay        Peter Deutch

Tom Delay                           Peter Deutsch

According to FAPA president Dr. Wen-yen Chen: "We are grateful of the outspoken support of Congressional leaders with this subject. Although several requests which have been brought forward in the bill have already been honored -such as communication systems and early warning systems- it is adamant that the rest of the requests as brought forward in the bill are honored as well as consistent with the TRA. Timely passage of the bill will restore the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait."

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