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Document: Letter from Sens. Cardin and McCain to White House on Arms Sales to Taiwan

The following is a Nov. 19, 2015 letter from Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) to the White House on arms sales to Taiwan.

Dear President Obama,

America’s long-standing commitment to Taiwan is a multifaceted and bipartisan effort that
includes many components, all of which must be exercised as we seek to support and
safeguard the ability of the people on Taiwan to determine their own future. One critical
component is U.S. security assistance and arms sales to Taiwan to help modernize and build
the capacity of its armed forces. We believe this support must be more robust.

While recent relations between Taiwan and China have been more encouraging, we remain
concerned that China’s ongoing military modernization, and the threat it poses to peace and
security in the Taiwan Strait, is not being adequately addressed. We recognize that a great
deal of bilateral security cooperation is taking place between the United States and Taiwan,
including more than $12 billion worth of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan since the Start of your
administration. These actions have been welcome. However, we are troubled that it has now
been over four years-the longest period since the passage of the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979 — since the administration has notified Congress of a new arms sale package.

The United States must continue to further our interests in cross-Strait stability-a vital
component of which is arms sales to Taiwan, pursuant to the Taiwan Relations Act-even
when doing so brings short-term tensions in our relationship with China. The United States
should develop and implement an ongoing plan for Taiwan’s military modernization.
including how the administration plans to address Taiwan’s legitimate requirement for
additional new manned fighters and submarines and other self-defense articles and services.
Given some of the obstacles with the current approach, we believe that a regular and routine
process for the provision of security assistance to Taiwan is essential.

The United States must continue to further our interests in cross-Strait stability-a vital
component of which is arms sales to Taiwan, pursuant to the Taiwan Relations Act-even
when doing so brings short-term tensions in our relationship with China. The United States
should develop and implement an ongoing plan for Taiwan’s military modernization,
including how the administration plans to address Taiwan’s legitimate requirement for
additional new manned fighters and submarines and other self-defense articles and services.
Given some of the obstacles with the current approach, we believe that a regular and routine
process for the provision of security assistance to Taiwan is essential.

Finally, we believe that it is equally important that Taiwan strive to meet President Ma Ying-
jeou’s 2008 commitment to invest at least 3 percent of its annual gross domestic product on
defense. We are increasingly concerned that, absent a change in defense spending. Taiwan’s
military will continue to be under-resourced and unable to make the investments necessary to
maintain a credible deterrent across the strait, especially as its limited defense resources are
increasingly constrained by growing military personnel costs.

Consistent with the requirements of the Taiwan Relations Act, which call for regular
consultations between the Executive Branch and Congress, we look forward to the
opportunity to discuss together how best we can support and strengthen Taiwan’s self-defense
capabilities, including any arms sales under consideration or planned.

Sincerely,

[signed]
Benjamin L. Cardin
United States Senator

[signed]
John McCain
United States Senator

  • Curtis Conway

    Once China has unfettered access to the South China Sea and builds military bases on artificial islands there, most of their program to surround Taiwan will be almost complete, and to this point assisted by inaction by the US Government.

  • Curtis Conway

    Given this administration’s adherence (or lack there of in this region) to treaties overall, it is clear that they would prefer to just write-off Taiwan and save the money. To protect liberty anywhere on the planet against those who stand against it, is just not in the DNA of these folks in charge today. Actions taken by the US Navy in the South China Sea with respect to FONOPS around the artificial islands is a case in point. China wishes to close their grip around Taiwan, and this administration has demonstrated clearly that they intend to support that activity, by NOT letting US Foreign Policy err on the side of freedom of inhabitants in the region, rather err on the side of ‘who will give them the least costly resistance’ given current inaction.

    • old guy

      Could not have been better said. Elimination of this SOLIPSIST traitor in the White House will be our ONLY hope.

  • Secundius

    Back in 2005, Bush/Cheney “Borrowed” a Swedish Gotland class SSK. “Borrowed” for TWO-years. Nobody in the World, Including the United States would Sell Diesel/AIP Submarines to Taiwan. In FEAR of what the PRC would do. Said Gotland was taken to a Submarine Base in Hawai’i, Dismantled and Reversed Engineered onto Computer Software of the Time. After Reassembling to Gotland, and Giving it back to Sweden in 2007. Taiwan “Got a Gift” Computer Copies of the Gotland class SSK Design, down to Micromillimeter/Microkilogram Range. SH|T HIT THE “Proverbial” FAN, when Sweden reacquired the Gotland. And being re-outfitted in one of their Naval Yard, found that the “Wields” didn’t Match any preexisting Wields and the Flux used were not Swedish Naval Standards. To keep the Swedish Quiet about the “Misappropriation/Acquisition” Scandal. Bush/Cheney, were forced to Permanently Mislay Generation 5 Fighter Plans to the Swedish Government from Northrop F-20 Tigershark/Saab JAS.39 “Gripen”…

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