by Senator Robert Torricelli
Foreign Relations Committee
Hearing on S.693, Taiwan Security
August 4, 1999
years, the U.S. Congress has strongly supported Taiwan's
emergence onto the international arena. But as Taiwan's
democratic process and economy flourished, China has grown
hostile towards its new international standing. The
1996 Taiwan Straits crisis demonstrated that we must maintain
a delicate balance in preserving regional security and stability.
Our commitment to Taiwan has always been, and will remain,
Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act to legally define
the relationship between the United States and Taiwan.
The four principles of the TRA have guided this relationship
by recognizing the right of the Taiwanese people to determine
their own future through peaceful means, and affirming our
commitment to support human rights in Taiwan. The
TRA also commits us to oppose Taiwan's exclusion from membership
in any international organizations, and sell defensive articles
and services to Taiwan.
growing arsenal of nuclear and conventionally armed ballistic
missiles makes the sale of defensive articles a timely issue.
The Defense Department's report on the military balance
in the Taiwan Straits detailed an increase in China's offensive
capabilities and described Taiwan's limited defense capacity.
Given these developments, I joined Senator Helms in introducing
a bill to enhance Taiwan's security.
is designed to ensure Taiwan's ability to meet its defensive
security needs. It authorizes, not mandates, the sale
of theater missile defense equipment, satellite early warning
data, and specific air and naval defense systems.
It also strengthens the process for selling defense articles
by requiring an annual report to Congress on Taiwan's defense
requests. Finally, the bill improves Taiwan's military
readiness by supporting Taiwan's participation in U.S. military
academies, among other measures. This bill does not
alter or amend our commitments under the TRA. Rather
it ensures that Taiwan's security needs are adequately met.
events make it even more necessary for the United States
to continue its support for Taiwan. President Lee's
statements have led China to threaten the use of force against
Taiwan. However, we all recognize that the peaceful
resolution of Taiwan's status is important to the Taiwanese
people, the U.S. and China. The people of Taiwan have
a right to determine their own future by peaceful means,
but we must remain committed to two important principles.
First, dialogue between China and Taiwan must continue in
October. And second, we must demonstrate our commitment
to Taiwan by adhering to our commitments to the Taiwan Relations
year, I joined several of my colleagues in co-sponsoring
resolutions which recognize our commitments under the TRA.
Since 1949, when the United States first officially recognized
the Taiwanese government, we have enjoyed a close bond that
has survived for almost 50 years. Now is the time
to reaffirm our relationship and concurrently pursue greater