Dear Senator [name]
As a constituent with Taiwanese relatives living in the shadow of China’s two hundred missiles, I am concerned about the Administration’s April 17 decision on arms sales to Taiwan. It stands, at least in spirit, in violation of the Taiwan Relations Act because the package does not meet Taiwan’s self-defense needs and the decision was done with an eye toward China’s concerns.
Pentagon reports have amply demonstrated the growing military imbalance in the Taiwan Strait, most directly related to China’s missile buildup and Taiwan’s defensive shortcomings. Instead of basing the arms sale decision on these reports and on Taiwan’s requests, the Administration instead blinked because of China. As a "senior Administration official" told The New York Times, "The Pentagon looked around and found they had underestimated what the Chinese reaction would be." So the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, equipped with the Aegis battle-management system, were not approved for sale to Taiwan. This decision is clearly not in line with TRA Sec. 3 (a) and 3 (b).
Congress was not a partner in the process, which is a violation of Sec. 3 (b) of the TRA.
All this argues strongly for passage of the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (TSEA). The TSEA will bring greater clarity to U.S. relations with Taiwan. The TSEA will also 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 TRA.
It is also important to note, as AIT Chair Richard Bush has stated, that Taiwan is "more likely to engage the Mainland if it has a certain sense of security, which US weapons help provide." The TSEA insures that Taiwan’s self-defense needs are not only met as Congress consults on Taiwan’s "hardware" requests but also its all-important training and communications needs.
U.S. policy concerns for peace and stability in East Asia, a secure Taiwan, and a peaceful dialogue between Taiwan and China will all be well served by passage of the TSEA. For these reasons, I ask that you support the TSEA bill now on Senator Trent Lott’s desk.
Please contact Jim Doran at 4-4651 or John Bradshaw at 4-3224 for more information.
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