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   Sen. Hutchinson (R-AK) -Press Release

April 18, 2000                                               

Senator Hutchinson Criticizes Secretive Taiwan Arms Sales Process

Senator Tim Hutchinson today responded to reports that the Clinton Administration has denied several key defense articles requested by Taiwan:

"We must give every consideration to shoring up Taiwan's defenses at this new and critical juncture in Taiwan's democratic development.  Unfortunately, the Administration has followed a two-pronged approach in determining U. S. arms sales to Taiwan - rewarding threats from Beijing and keeping Congress out of the process - both in violation of the Taiwan Relations Act."

"By denying crucial defensive items, the Administration is sending the wrong signal to Beijing - that intimidation will limit the type and quantity of arms the U. S. sells to Taiwan for its defense.  At the same time, denying Aegis destroyers, which the Taiwanese military considers critical to its security, is a vote of no confidence in U. S. support for Taiwan."

"I have little confidence in this Administration's plan to delay consideration of defensive items pending a Pentagon report on Taiwan's naval defense needs.  The Pentagon has already refused to provide Congress with an existing report on Taiwan's air defense needs."

"Congress has already been kept in the dark for too long,  This Administration should expect Congress to reassert itself in the arms sales process by passing the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act or other legislation, to restore the intent of the Taiwan Relations Act."

Last week, Senator Hutchinson and twelve colleagues sent a letter to Majority Leader Trent Lott, requesting Senate action on the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act.  Senator Lott has placed the legislation on the calendar.

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