The Taiwan Security Enhancement Act
1, 2000] The House of Representatives today voted
overwhelmingly to strengthen the U.S. commitment to Taiwan’s
security by voting 341-70 for the Taiwan Security Enhancement
Act. The margin of victory for HR 1838, as amended
by House International Relations Committee Chair Benjamin
Gilman (R-NY) and ranking Democratic member Samuel Gejdenson
(D-CT), was a clear signal to China that House members on
both sides of the aisle forcefully support Taiwan’s self-defense
needs in the face of the growing military imbalance across
the Taiwan Strait caused by China’s military modernization
and weapons procurement efforts.
floor debate, Members stressed the importance of reaffirming
American “strong support of the cause of freedom” on Taiwan
(Rep. Robert Andrews, D-NJ), which “provides China
with a road map” to the future, (Rep. Ken Calvert, R-CA).
Rep. Bob Schaffer (R-CO) stated his agreement with a statement
by Annette Lu, vice presidential candidate of Taiwan’s Democratic
Progressive Party, who told him recently of the “importance
of this Congress speaking out boldly” and clarifying the
U.S. commitment to Taiwan particularly during this election
period on the island.
Ben Gilman (R-NY) applauded Taiwan’s “refusal to be intimidated”
by China and the need for the U.S. to stand up to recent
statements by China’s General Xiong Kuang-kai who refused
to renounce the force against Taiwan. “General Xiong
was not ambiguous. We should not be ambiguous,” stated
Rep. Christopher Cox (R-CA). Rep. Sam Gejdenson (D-CT),
with a smile, noted that “Administrations would rather not
hear from us” on foreign policy issues, but stated his pride
at bringing up the issue of freedom and independence for
the Baltic states over the years while Secretaries of State
tried to wish the issue away. “The Baltics are free”
today, said Gejdenson, again with a smile. “This bill
is a very clear signal about democratic values as they exist
on Taiwan,” Gejdenson added.
the dawn of a new century,” said the bill’s original author,
Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), “the world must be reassured that
the U.S. will stand by its friends.” As the oldest
revolution and the oldest democracy, added Rep. Dick Armey
(R-TX), the U.S. has always been willing to “sacrifice for
the freedoms of others. We should keep this heritage.”
US policy that the ultimate status of Taiwan must be decided
by peaceful means by stating unequivocally, “Any determination
of the ultimate status of Taiwan must have the express consent
of the people on Taiwan.”
for increased training for Taiwan’s military officers in
US military education schools and operational training and
exchanges of senior officers from both countries for “work
in threat analysis, doctrine, force planning, operational
methods, and other areas.”
that the Administration, when considering arms sales to
Taiwan, “take into account the special status of Taiwan
including the defense needs of Taiwan in response to the
military modernization and weapons’ procurement efforts
by the People’s Republic of China.”
the establishment of direct secure communications between
US and Taiwanese forces.
a. Taiwan’s defense requests and Administration decisions
about these requests.
b. The security situation in the Taiwan Strait.
c. The ability of the US to successfully respond to a major
contingency in the Asia-Pacific region where US interests
on Taiwan are at risk.
is a powerful signal to the people of Taiwan, and the Taiwanese-American
community in the U.S.,” stated Chen Wen-yen, President of
the Formosan Association for Public Affairs. “As Rep.
Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-NY) noted, there was a strong
grassroots campaign by our community for this bill.
We thank our friends in Congress for backing Taiwan’s right
to exercise its democracy freely and for sending a strong
message to China to keep their hands off Taiwan.”
Members were deeply moved,” Chen continued, “by meeting
Roger Hsieh last week. Hsieh was a political prisoner
in Taiwan for 16 years, precisely because he spoke out for
democracy. Roger told Members how important the Taiwan
Security Enhancement Act was as a means of insuring the
people of Taiwan not lose their precious right to choose
their elected representatives without fear. He voiced
his concern that, without the TSEA commitment, many voters
in Taiwan would feel intimidated by China’s threats.
I’m sure he is rejoicing with us today because of this vote!”