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   Letter to Sen. Lott from 12 other Senators

The Honorable Trent Lott

Senate Majority Leader
S-230, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Trent:

We are writing to request that you bring before the Senate, H. R. 1838, the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act, which the House passed by a vote of 341-70 on February 1, 2000. We believe that we must bring greater clarity to our relations with Taiwan and China by passing this legislation in the Senate.

In recent months, China has purchased Sovremenny- class destroyers equipped with Sunburn missiles and Kilo-class submarines equipped with evasive torpedoes. These weapon systems are intended to deter an American defense of Taiwan. In addition, China has and continues to deploy short and medium range ballistic missiles across from Taiwan.

These military developments have been matched by indications of an intent to use force against Taiwan. China has consistently refused to renounce the use of force against Taiwan and has even dramatically lowered its justification for a use of force to include Taiwan's refusal to negotiate reunification. In this context, Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji threatened Taiwanese voters against choosing a pro-independence leader in Taiwan's March 18, 2000 presidential election. We believe that China's threats will only increase as Taiwan progresses down the path of democracy.

In addition, a recent study by the Department of Defense indicated that the Taiwanese military faces a multitude of problems stemming form technological shortcomings, including an inability to adequately defend against air attacks, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles. These deficiencies can be attributed, at least in part, to the military's isolation.

The Taiwan Security Enhancement Act will underscore U. S. support for Taiwan by increasing military exchanges with Taiwan, by establishing a direct military communications link with Taiwan, and by reestablishing Congress as a consultant in the annual arms sales process, as intended and required by the Taiwan Relations Act. We believe that these provisions will correct some of the inadequacies of the Taiwanese military and bring greater security to the people of Taiwan.

We therefore urge you to take the necessary steps to ascertain support in the Senate for the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act and to call up this legislation at the earliest possible date, before the Senate votes on matters relating to China.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R-AR)

Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ)

Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-AK)

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)

Sen. Slade Gorton (R-WA)

Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH)

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)

Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH)

Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO)

 
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