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   Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (TSEA) - Congress needs to arm Taiwan

CONGRESS NEEDS TO ARM TAIWAN (Extension of Remarks - June 22, 2000)

HON. BOB BARR in the House of Representatives  (6/22/00)



The story broke in the Taiwan press on May 25: The Communist Chinese military started live-fire artillery exercises for six days near the closest output maintained by the free Chinese, who recently inaugurated a new president who adheres to pro-free enterprise, anti-Communist policies.

What does the Clinton administration do? Next to nothing.

That same week, an unnamed top Clinton official with the National Security Council even said it was a mistake for the United States to issue a visa to new President Chen Chui-bian's predecessor so he could attend a reunion at his U.S. alma mater. Just before that insulting declaration, the Clinton administration decided against selling four Aegis destroyers to Taiwan . (It did, however, approve the sale of long-ranger radar designed to detect missile launches.)

Yet if the anti-Communist island can't defend itself, radar doesn't do much except perhaps tell them to duck. What Taiwan's tough-but-small military needs are missiles of their own to scare off the mainland from any attack.

According to a recent classified Pentagon report leaked to the Washington Post, Taiwan is far more vulnerable to invasion from the Communist Beijing government than was previously known. The island's military technology has fallen behind Beijing's, particularly in the area of defending itself from air and missile attack.

Since the May 20 inauguration of Chen, and his appointment of a hard-line anti-Communist from the previous ruling party as defense minister, the Red Chinese military has been rattling its saber even more frequently. Yet President Clinton is still reluctant to sell military equipment to the island.

This reluctance, and the administration's pro-Beijing slant, is thankfully drawing the attention of Congress, which is naturally concerned that the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act is being ignored. That legislation requires that all arms-sale decisions must be based solely on Taiwan's defense needs.

In light of the Pentagon report and current Chinese military provocations, those defense needs have never been greater.

A bipartisan block in Congress has drawn up new legislation, the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act. Among other things, this legislation would order the executive branch to explain whenever it rejects, postpones or changes a military request from Taiwan .

This bill was introduced because key lawmakers of both parties value the island as a loyal ally and key trading partner. Taiwan deserves entry into the World Trade Organization, as does Mainland China, especially since Taiwan is free, open, and democratic.

How can Americans who live in a country that is the self-proclaimed `leader of the free world' ever abandon a free country to dictatorship? At the very least, the people's representatives in the legislative branch of our government can hold the executive branch to account when it comes to defensive armaments in Taiwan.

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