Mr. Loo is a board member of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), and an active member of the Taiwanese-American community. His articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, the New Republic, World Affairs, and in numerous Taiwanese-language publications. The present article is a response to an OpEd regarding the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act by David Lampton in the Washington Post of 30 October 1999.
Sinologist David Lampton's arguments against the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act (TSEA) are misleading and disingenuous. The TSEA needs to be enacted for five solid reasons:
1. The Act is urgently needed. Washington has failed to implement the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) which requires the U.S. to sell to Taiwan weapons and services adequate for the island's defense. For example, China has 55 submarines including four advanced Kilo class submarines purchased from Russia. Taiwan has four submarines. The Department of Defense (DOD) said in its February 1999 report to the Congress on Taiwan's security that submarines represent a critical defense need of Taiwan. Yet Taipei has been trying in vain for over 10 years to purchase submarines from the U. S.
2. The framework of the TRA and the three joint U. S.PRC communiqués are no longer adequate to keep the peace due to three recent developments. First, China is rapidly modernizing its armed forces with a focused aim of coercing Taiwan into submission in the next few years. Second, Taiwan has evolved into a thriving freemarket economy and multiparty democracy. The Taiwanese will not readily give up their hardwon political and economic achievements. Third, instead of deterring the looming military conflict, President Clinton has encouraged Chinese adventurism by his enunciation of the three no's. Passage of the TSEA will pull the pendulum back toward peace in the Taiwan strait.
3. Section 2(a) of the TRA states that any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means will be deemed "a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States." In order to preserve the option of going to Taiwan's aid in a crisis, a secure line of communications with Taiwan's military is indispensable. So are closer military ties, so each side can become familiar with the other's military doctrine, strategy and preparedness. These provisions of the TSEA will give substance to our policy that any dispute between Taiwan and China must be resolved peacefully. Failure to establish the military links will invite PRC miscalculation.
4. China has deployed more than 150 ballistic missiles across the Taiwan Strait. The number is estimated to increase to 650 by 2005. Taiwan has no effective defense against these missiles. If the only recourse is to attack China's missile launching pads, any conflict will escalate into a fullscale war. If China cannot be persuaded to dismantle these offensive missiles, then inclusion of Taiwan in a U.S.sponsored theater missile defense system should be considered.
5. There is no question Taiwan is an issue in U.S.PRC relations due to China's strategic ambitions and its bellicosity. In engaging China, however, we should not lose sight of our basic policy goals: to maintain peace and stability in East Asia and to steer China towards the path of democracy. Preserving Taiwan's democracy and ensuring the 22 million Taiwanese's rights to determine their future without outside military or political pressure is consistent with such policy objectives.
On 7 December 1999, President Clinton signed HR 1794, a bill calling for Taiwan's "appropriate and meaningful participation in the World Health Organization" and requiring a report to the Congress from the Secretary of State not later than January 1, 2000 regarding "efforts of the Secretary to fulfill the commitment made in the 1994 Taiwan Policy Review to more actively support Taiwan's participation in international organizations" into law.
"I'm extremely pleased the President signed this measure," said Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the sponsor of this legislation. "Denying Taiwan's participation in the WHO is an unjustifiable violation of its people's fundamental human rights. The Cold War is over. Instead of worrying about offending China, our government should help Taiwan gain its rightful place in the WHO and other international organizations. This law is a step in the right direction."
"With both this bill and HR 3427, requiring semiannual reports on US support for membership or participation of Taiwan in international organizations, the Administration is finally moving to implement its own Taiwan Policy Review," stated Chen Wen-yen, FAPA's President. "After six years of inaction, we are pleased to see these first steps toward full recognition of Taiwan as a state among equals."
On 30 November 1999, Mr. Clinton also signed HR 3427, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which included Section 704, requiring a semi-annual report detailing:
a. a comprehensive list of the international organizations in which the United States Government supports the membership or participation of Taiwan;
b. the efforts of the United States Government to achieve the membership or participation of Taiwan in each organization listed; and
c. the obstacles to the membership or participation of Taiwan in each organization listed, including a list of any governments that do not support the membership or participation of Taiwan in each such organization.
On 2 November 1999, Dr. Gerald Segal of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies passed away. The people of Taiwan and the overseas Taiwanese community lost a great friend. Over the past year, he spoke out forcefully and frequently on the issue of Taiwan's safety and security, and about the rising China threat.
This past summer, during the stormy debate about President Lee Teng-hui's "state-to-state" relationship, Dr. Segal wrote "The Logic of Taiwan Independence" in the Paris-based International Herald Tribune, and "China's Options against Taiwan are Limited" in the Wall Street Journal. Both titles speak for themselves.
Dr. Segal was a very straightforward man. In an earlier article about the American "engagement policy" ("We can shape China as a Congenial Superpower" Los Angeles Times, 7 August 1995), Mr. Segal stated: "Tying China into the international system has elements of both "containment" and "engagement," and it is not worth feigning that we cannot use either term in our debates."
Even as he was losing the battle against cancer, he continued to write articles. His last article, "Does China Matter?" (Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct 1999) was a major contribution to the political debate about China, and a must-read for anyone dealing with East Asia.
We extend our deep condolences to Dr. Segal's wife and daughter. For a list of tributes, and a link to Dr. Segal's own website, please go to: http://segal.org/g/
In the beginning of November 1999, both the New York Times and Aviation Week and Space Technology reported that Israel was preparing to sell an advanced airborne radar system, Phalcon, to China. The system was being built into a Russian-built aircraft, which had arrived in Israel at the end of October 1999.
We have always highly regarded Israel, and considered it a friendly nation. However, this sale to China a nation which has repeatedly threatened our homeland Taiwan with military attack and invasion threatens to undermine the warmth and friendship we feel for Israel.
Israel's proposed sale to China will strengthen China's repressive hand against a democratic Taiwan, and therefore seriously threatens peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. We hope Israel realizes that such a sale is equivalent to other nations' proposing a sale of advanced military equipment to belligerent neighbors, such as Syria or Iraq.
Being a small nation surrounded by hostile neighbors, Israel should display solidarity with Taiwan, instead of assisting the aggressor. With the proposed radar sale, it would be helping Goliath defeat David. We assume this is not Israel's intention. We therefore strongly urge Israel to withdraw the offer to China.
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