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   Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (TSEA)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Marc Thiessen

Date: April 17, 2000 Phone: (202) 224-4651

HELMS BLASTS REPORTED PLANS TO DENY TAIWAN DEFENSE REQUESTS

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms issued the following statement today:

"I am extremely disappointed to learn that the Pentagon has apparently succumbed to pressure from the State Department and the White House to sacrifice Taiwan's security in order to appease the dictators in Beijing.

"For months, we in Congress were led by Defense Department officials to believe that the Pentagon was leading the fight to sell Aegis destroyers to Taiwan. Now we learn that they are doing no such thing. Moreover, we are learning that the Pentagon has apparently backed off its earlier commitment to provide Taiwan with urgently-needed early warning radars, recommending a delay until Taiwan can prove that it can integrate the radar into its system.

AThis adds insult to injury. Any problems Taiwan's military would face integrating these systems would stem from no fault of its own, but rather from 20 years of the isolation the United States has imposed on Taiwan. This Administration has sunk to a new low indeed when they don't even have the courage to fulfill a commitment to sell a civil defense item to Taiwan for fear of offending Communist China.

"There is, quite simply, no military justification to deny Taiwan these crucial defensive items. These denials are driven by knee-jerk appeasement on the part of the White House and the State Department.

"If the Pentagon will not stand up for Taiwan, then it is clear Congress will have to take action. If the Administration follows through on these recommendations, and denies Taiwan these critical defensive items, then the time will have come for the Senate to join the House in passing the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act.

"The politicized handling of Taiwan's defense request -- and the utter failure of this Administration to consult with Congress -- is a clear demonstration why the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act is so urgently needed."

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