Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

House Subcommittee Backs Call for U.S. to Defend Taiwan

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

House Subcommittee Backs Call for U.S. to Defend Taiwan

Article excerpt

While U.S. warplanes flew 90-minute patrols near Taiwan on Wednesday, a U.S. House subcommittee endorsed a bill urging the United States to defend Taiwan if attacked.

The nonbinding resolution, approved unanimously by the House International Relations Asia Pacific subcommittee, said the United States "should assist" in defending Taiwan "against invasion, missile attack or blockade" by China.

Since Friday, China has been firing unarmed missiles into the sea near Taiwan and since Monday has staged live-ammunition war games near the island in order to intimidate Taiwanese before a presidential election March 23.

The full House International Relations Committee is scheduled to take up the resolution today, and the measure could come to the House floor by next week. Rep. Doug Bereuter, R-Neb., the subcommittee chairman, predicted that it would pass with more than 350 votes. The Senate is working on its own measure relating to the China-Taiwan tension.

But, despite Bereuter's prediction, not all Republicans support the resolution. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., chairman of the House Appropriations national security subcommittee, called it "a prospective declaration of war. I'm not prepared to do that."

Although officials in President Bill Clinton's administration have not endorsed the resolution, Bereuter said Assistant Secretary of State Winston Lord and other officials had told him privately that they "welcome an unambiguous statement from the Congress of our support to defend Taiwan against aggression."

The resolution states that "any effort to determine Taiwan's future by other than peaceful means would be considered a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States." Consultations With Congress The resolution also calls for consultations with Congress on an appropriate response. The lawmakers added language to the measure noting that Congress is not supporting an independent Taiwan. …

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