following article appeared in the Washington Post of April
27, 2000. In it, Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK) states that
"There was a general feeling that . . . it would be
more helpful if consideration [of the Taiwan Security Enhancement
Act] came at a later date." "There was a realization
that the timing of this, while they're establishing a new
cabinet, may not be the best time for an event that would
get the PRC [People's Republic of China] to react."
TSEA will not be brought up for a vote before Taiwan’s May
GOP Tables Taiwan Bill
Mufson and Helen Dewar
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, April 27, 2000
Republican leaders have decided to put off consideration
of a bill to strengthen military ties with Taiwan, after
the island's newly elected president asked a visiting senator
to avoid measures that might provoke China at a sensitive
Frank H. Murkowski (R-Alaska), who visited Taiwan last week,
said that President-elect Chen Shui-bian and several other
leading Taiwanese politicians urged the Senate to wait until
after Chen is inaugurated on May 20 and has set up his administration
before voting on the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act.
was a general feeling that . . . it would be more helpful
if consideration came at a later date," Murkowski said.
"There was a realization that the timing of this, while
they're establishing a new cabinet, may not be the best
time for an event that would get the PRC [People's Republic
of China] to react."
bill would create close links between the American and Taiwanese
militaries and would irritate Beijing, which regards the
self-governing island as part of China. The election of
Chen, a long-time advocate of Taiwanese independence, already
has raised tensions with the Communist mainland.
said appeals for a delay were made in private meetings not
only by Chen, but also by rival presidential candidate James
Soong, outgoing President Lee Teng-hui, the incoming Taiwanese
foreign minister and Chen's party chairman.
don't want to be holier than the Taiwanese, so to speak,"
said one Republican aide.
Republicans previously had pushed for passage of the measure
and had linked it to the Clinton administration's arms package
for Taiwan, threatening to pass it quickly after the White
House rejected the island's request to buy four destroyers
equipped with advanced Aegis radar systems.
opposition from the Clinton administration and mainland
China, the House voted 341-70 for the bill in February,
and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) had told
senators that he wanted to win final passage by Memorial
the legislation already was facing trouble. Sources said
it appeared to have the backing of a majority of senators
but probably not the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural
said the Senate was less interested than the House in the
political cover that the bill might afford for those who
plan to vote to grant China permanent normal trade relations.
Support for the China trade bill is much stronger in the
Senate than in the House.
Max Baucus (D-Mont.), a leader in the effort to pass the
China trade bill, has put a "hold" on the security
measure, forcing Lott to muster 60 votes to pass it. Baucus
opposes the bill because it would "threaten the spirit
of established policy governing U.S. relations with Taiwan
. . . unnecessarily heighten tensions between Taiwan and
China . . . and hamper passage of permanent trade relations
with China," said his spokesman, Michael Siegel.
Robert G. Torricelli (D-N.J.), who supports the security
bill, said it was intended partly to discourage China from
interfering in Taiwan's recent elections and to "provide
some reassurance to Taiwan that there was this reservoir
of support to draw on if there was a problem." So even
without passage, he added, "I think the legislation
achieved some of its purposes."