Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tancredo makes last minute push to end arms freeze

Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo, a good friend of Taiwan, has introduced a resolution to force the Administration to sell needed weapons to Taiwan, taking advantage of Congress' being in session for the financial market mess. Below are copies of the bill, and various press releases. Many thanks to the Congressman for his hard work on behalf of The Beautiful Island.

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ARMS SALES TO TAIWAN RESOLUTION INTRODUCED IN THE HOUSE

On September 24, 2008, a Resolution requiring the sales of defensive arms articles to Taiwan was introduced in the House by Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO). The Resolution refers to section 3(a) of the Taiwan Relations Act, and states:

…. the defense articles and defense services described in subsection (b) shall be transferred on a sales basis to Taiwan as soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this Act.

In the subsequent section it refers to the following specific defense items:

… diesel electric submarines or relevant designs, Mark-48 ASW torpedoes, Harpoon submarine-launched anti-ship cruise missiles, PAC–3 missile defense systems, Paladin self-propelled howitzers, Apache helicopters, mine-sweeping helicopters, and 66 F–16 C/D fighter planes that were requested by the Government of Taiwan in August 2007.

The Formosan Association for Public Affairs applauds introduction of this resolution and urges Congress to act on it before adjournment. FAPA President Bob Yang, Ph.D. stated: "The US Administration's stalling on the arms sales to Taiwan is both bad strategy and a direct violation of the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances: delaying the arms sales is playing into China's hands, which wants the sales stopped altogether, so Taiwan has increasingly less leverage in its negotiations with China."

Yang adds: "To those who have worked hard and sacrificed to help make Taiwan a free and democratic country, the American hesitations to move forward with these sales are undermining US credibility as a proponent of democracy in East Asia."

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110TH CONGRESS
2D SESSION H. R.
To require the sale of certain defense articles and defense services to Taiwan.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Mr. TANCREDO introduced the following bill; which was referred to the
Committee on

A BILL

To require the sale of certain defense articles and defense
services to Taiwan.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. REQUIREMENT TO SELL CERTAIN DEFENSE ARTICLES AND DEFENSE SERVICES TO TAIWAN.

(a) REQUIREMENT.—In accordance with section 3(a) of the Taiwan Relations Act, the defense articles and defense services described in subsection (b) shall be transferred on a sales basis to Taiwan as soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(b) DEFENSE ARTICLES AND DEFENSE SERVICES DESCRIBED.—The defense articles and defense services referred to in subsection (a) are the following: (1) The unfulfilled elements of the request made by Taiwan and approved by President George W. Bush in 2001 that includes diesel electric submarines or relevant designs, Mark-48 ASW torpedoes, Harpoon submarine-launched anti-ship cruise missiles, PAC–3 missile defense systems, Paladin self-propelled howitzers, Apache helicopters, and mine-sweeping helicopters. (2) 66 F–16 C/D fighter planes that were requested by the Government of Taiwan in August 2007.

(c) CONGRESSIONAL NOTIFICATION AND APPROVAL.—The requirement to transfer defense articles and defense services under subsection (a) shall be carried out notwithstanding the provisions for congressional notification and approval of a proposed sale of defense articles or defense services in section 36(b) of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2776(b)).

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Tancredo Makes Last Minute Push to Complete Stalled Taiwan Arms Sale

Bill Would Sidestep Legally Dubious Bush Administration “Freeze” And Mandate Weapons Transfer

(WASHINGTON, DC) – U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo today introduced legislation that would mandate the completion the long-stalled arms transfer from the United States to Taiwan.

The bill would require the sale of diesel-electric submarine plans, F-16 fighter jets, cruise missiles, and Apache helicopters to Taiwan. The transfer of all of these weapons systems was approved by the U.S. government as far back as 2001 and, in some cases, earlier.

Despite long-standing U.S. policy, and in defiance of the legal requirements of the Taiwan Relations Act, however, the Bush Administration has blocked the completion of the sale in what many believe is yet another attempt by the White House to curry favor with the communist government of mainland China.

“We have a moral obligation to make good on our commitment to our democratic friends in Taiwan,” said Tancredo. “Congress and the Administration have a legal obligation under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with these weapons systems, regardless of what the communists in Beijing or the ‘panda-huggers’ in the U.S. State Department might think.”

Tancredo pointed to the text of Taiwan Relations Act which stipulates that, “the United States will make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability,” and that “The President and Congress shall determine the nature and quantity of such defense articles and services based solely upon their judgment of the needs of Taiwan” (emphasis added).

The Bush Administration has flip-flopped on the issue of supporting democratic Taiwan since taking office eight years ago. In 2001, President Bush declared that the U.S. would “do whatever it takes” to defend Taiwan, and approved a robust transfer of defensive weapons to aid the island nation in beefing up its defenses against its rapidly militarizing and increasingly belligerent communist neighbor.

Since then, however, the Bush State Department has taken great pains to accommodate and appease China, refusing to accept Taiwan’s request for replacement aircraft in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and freezing portions of the 2001 arms transfer by withholding a routine “notification” to Congress that is necessary for the completion of the sale.

“The Taiwan Relations Act entrusts both the President and Congress with the task of helping Taiwan defend itself from a hostile China,” concluded Tancredo. “Unfortunately because the President has made it clear that he isn’t interested in living up to that responsibility – Congress is going to have to take the initiative.”

Tancredo’s bill would waive the requirement for a “Presidential notification,” and allow the unfulfilled elements of the 2001 sale, as well as the F-16 fighters the Taiwan government requested two years ago, to go forward.


6 comments:

Thomas said...

It is such a shame that matters of such importance have to be reduced to "last minute resolutions".

Raj said...

If Tancredo wants to be clever, he should get together with a group of legislators and say their support for passing the financial rescue package now rather than later depends on the notifications.

Raj said...

I wonder whether Bush isn't doing this in part to give the KMT the finger. Like "you guys dicked about with my kind offer for years so why should I dance to your tune just because you're in office?"

Sure he should approve the arms, but the KMT were always playing with fire when they vetoed the budget until they thought it was inevitable they'd get back into government. If they hadn't cut the funding from the 2007 budget even with it delayed until the summer of last year the notifications might have gone through by now.

I suppose the chances of notifications going through are reliant on how long, if at all, the Congress recess is pushed back.

Readin said...

I wonder whether Bush isn't doing this in part to give the KMT the finger.

It would be nice to think so. But if it is, Bush isn't being very effective with it. If he wants to punish the KMT legislature, he needs to somehow signal the Taiwanese people that's the case like he did with Chen, so that like Chen the KMT will pay a price at election time.

Since he isn't doing anything make it will effect the election, I find it hard to believe that Bush is trying to punish the KMT.

Mad Minerva said...

Thanks, Michael. Can I trouble you for the actual URL of the news stories to which you linked?

Cheers,
MM

Anonymous said...

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/JI25Cb01.html