A Security Threat

From the July 2000 Trumpet Print Edition

The Clinton administration has revealed another major foreign policy shift by naming Taiwan as a hostile security threat to the U.S.

According to a recently publicized 1999 memorandum from Attorney General Janet Reno to fbi Director Louis Freeh, Taiwan is among 13 nations designated as priorities for U.S. intelligence and counterespionage activities.

Based on fbi, Justice and State Department reports, the other 12 potential threats are Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbian-controlled Bosnia, Vietnam, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Sudan.

The addition of Taiwan to that list is a massive change from previous U.S. policy. Disclosure of the threat list came just as the U.S. House of Representatives was preparing to vote on a bill that would grant mainland China permanent normal trade relations.

According to a May 24 report in the Washington Times, current and former U.S. intelligence officials said the inclusion of Taiwan on the list appears based on the administration’s pro-China policy. “This is just for political purposes,” one of the officials said. “The Taiwanese are not in the same league as the other threats, and they are the one country on the list that is not a mortal enemy of the United States.”

Senator Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: “It’s very strange to me that Taiwan would be on this list, especially since other countries that spy on us are not.”

If Taiwan is on the threat list, then India, Pakistan and France should be included, since those nations also spy on the U.S., said a former senior U.S. intelligence official.

“It’s absolutely appalling to group Taiwan with countries like Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria—rogue states whose agenda is anti-American,” said Marc Thiessen, spokesman for the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Taiwan’s representatives in Washington D.C. issued a statement saying Taiwan was “shocked and dismayed” to be named a major national security threat. The statement said Taiwan and the U.S. “have always shared close and friendly ties” and that the Clinton administration’s designation is “regrettable.”

James Soong, runner-up in Taiwan’s March 18 presidential elections, said his country has “mutually beneficial” bilateral and security ties with America. “According to any standard, the United States is…the most friendly country we have ever had,” he said in an interview.