Sun, Feb 20, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Vice president lauds efforts to safeguard the nation

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

In view of the US and Japan's plan to revise their security pact to make the Taiwan Strait a mutual security concern, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday said the move suggested the international community is attaching importance to and share a common concern about the security of the Taiwan Strait.

"[The plan] signified that Taiwan's existence, Taiwan's sovereignty and Taiwan's security are receiving attention from the international community," Lu said.

The vice president made the comments yesterday in response to media questions regarding a Washington Post report that the US and Japan would declare after a meeting in Washington, DC yesterday on bilateral security matters that Taiwan is a mutual security concern.

In a meeting yesterday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura and Japanese Defense Agency chief Yoshinori Ono were expected to make strong statements about tension in the Taiwan Strait.

Approving of the moves, the vice president called on Taiwan's people to adopt a severe and vigilant attitude with regard to the cross-strait situation.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday welcomed the US and Japan's planned declaration to identify the Taiwan Strait as one of their "common strategic objectives."

"Taiwan, being a member of the Asian region, is more than willing to continue taking part in regional events and assist in safeguarding the region's peace and stability," MOFA spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said.

Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), the director of the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Department of International Affairs yesterday also expressed her approval of the event, stating that the moves "are positive for [Taiwan] at this stage as the facts are that there is more space for interaction, and that the US and Japan are strengthening their security alliance."

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said yesterday that expected revisions to the US-Japan Security Alliance will make a Chinese invasion of Taiwan difficult to achieve.

While giving a lecture to trainees at the Lee Teng-hui School, Lee said that Beijing has used military force to try to intimidate the Taiwanese people into voting for candidates it favored in the three presidential elections since 1996.

Disappointed at its failure to achieve the desired results, Beijing has given up hope on unification through peaceful means and is determined to achieve unification through military force, Lee said.

He said that China's plan to enact an "anti-secession law" has received negative responses from the US and Taiwan because Beijing's claim that Taiwan is part of China is totally unconvincing.

He urged Beijing to review its nationalist policy and to bring about peace in Asia.

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