August 24, 1999 | News Releases on Asia
WASHINGTON, AUG. 24, 1999-The United States must "declare unambiguously that it will come to Taiwan's defense in the event of an attack or a blockade" against the island nation, says a statement released today by 23 leading conservatives and foreign-policy experts.
The Clinton administration and Congress should dispel the uncertainty that has clouded the U.S. position in the weeks since Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui declared that China and Taiwan should interact on a "state-to-state" basis, according to the group, which is led by Edwin J. Feulner Jr., president of The Heritage Foundation, and William Kristol, chairman of the Project for a New American Century. Feulner just returned from leading a congressional delegation on a week-long trip to Asia that included a stop in Taipei. Kristol has been one of the most forceful critics of the administration's China policy.
Although China has become increasingly belligerent, the White House has responded only by warning Taipei not to reject Beijing's understanding of the "One China" policy-a position "both dangerous and directly at odds with American strategic interests, past U.S. policy, and American democratic ideals," the statement says.
The United States is legally obligated by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act to defend its ally, the statement says, and "if the people of Taiwan do not want to be united with the mainland until China becomes a democracy, the United States has a moral obligation and strategic imperative to honor that determination."
In addition to Feulner and Kristol, the statement was signed by Elliott Abrams, Richard V. Allen, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, John R. Bolton, William F. Buckley Jr., Midge Decter, Robert Kagan, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, I. Lewis Libby, Edwin Meese III, Richard Perle, William Schneider Jr., Arthur Waldron, Richard L. Walker, Malcolm Wallop, James Webb, Caspar Weinberger, Paul Weyrich, R. James Woolsey and Paul Wolfowitz.