(CNSNews.com) - In what is being seen by many insiders as a setback for the Clinton administration, the House, on a 341 to 70 vote, passed the "Taiwan Security Enhancement Act".
The Clinton administration opposed the act. But House International Relations Committee Chairman Benjamin Gilman (R-NY) said the act's passage sent "an important message to Beijing that both parties in Congress support improving Taiwan's security. This vote indicates that there continues to be broad support for the Taiwan Relations
Act in Congress and that Congress will continue to stand by our democratic allies in Taiwan in the face of a growing Chinese military threat."
Before the vote, Chinese officials had warned many in Congress that the bill could push China and Taiwan toward a military confrontation as well as hurting diplomatic relations between China and the United States.
Gilman disagreed with the communist Chinese stand.
"China has said that this bill, which calls for modest steps between two democracies, will undermine US-China relations. We disagree. What will undermine US-China relations are nuclear espionage, illegal campaign contributions, human rights abuses, the refusal to renounce the use of force against Taiwan and a belligerent military posture across the Taiwan Straits. If Beijing truly cares about US-China relations, it must take steps to address these concerns," Gilman said.
The Senate has a companion bill waiting on a vote date. Regardless, the bill faces a possible veto by President Clinton, and Gilman thinks Clinton and his advisors should think again.
"In a classic example of Orwellian doublespeak, the administration has asserted that this bill, which clearly enhances Taiwan's defensive capability, would seriously diminish Taiwan's security. I hope the (Clinton) administration will rethink its opposition to this legislation. The United States should not be intimidated by Beijing's thuggish attempts at intimidation," Gilman said.