Deputy Minister of National Defense Andrew Yang (楊念祖) warned the US at a defense conference earlier this week that the Chinese threat against Taiwan “has never diminished.”
In a speech with far more hawkish undertones than are normally heard from members of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, Yang said China was continuing its preparations for “contingency operations” to respond to any change in relations across the Taiwan Strait.
Addressing the closed-door US-Taiwan Defense Industry -Conference in Cambridge, Maryland, Yang said that to suppress independence and promote unification, Beijing was combining “carrots and sticks.”
Beijing was sweetening the carrots and hardening the sticks, he said.
“China has attempted to instigate differences between the Taiwanese people and the government and even tried to dominate Taiwan’s public opinion and manipulate it in cross-strait relations,” Yang said.
Beijing’s military preparations against Taiwan were at least partly based on the principle that there would be no compromise on Taiwanese independence.
The very same month that -Taiwan and China signed the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), Yang said, at a time when relations between the two countries were at a high point, Chinese Minister of National Defense Liang Guanglie (梁光烈) told a delegation from the Japanese Self--Defense Forces that Taiwan was “the focus” of China’s military buildup.
Yang said there was a sharp contrast between the ECFA and Liang’s comments about the military buildup and that he could only conclude that Taiwan continued to face the same or an “increasing intensity” of threat.
Yang said a historic examination of China’s military strategy showed that the emphasis had always been less on defense and more on an active approach.
He said this could mean that China would be capable of launching a pre-emptive strike.
In this context, Yang urged the US to sell Taiwan the 66 advanced F-16C/D fighter aircraft and diesel-electric submarines it has requested.
A copy of Yang’s remarks was made available to the media.
At a press conference later, Yang said China had not been testing Taiwan’s defenses by sending military units close to its waters, but that Taipei could not count on China’s intentions because its military capability was steadily increasing and Beijing had not promised to refrain from using force.
He said the US was ready to upgrade Taiwan’s existing fleet of older F-16A/B aircraft, that there had been a warm response to a request to buy more recent models of the plane and that the request was being given serious consideration.
Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), director of the Democratic Progressive Party’s department of international affairs, later said she was happy to see a Ma official willing to face up to the challenge.
More than 140 government officials, academics, experts and representatives from defense companies attended the three-day annual conference, which concluded yesterday.
US-Taiwan Business Council president Rupert Hammond--Chambers said the closed sessions at the conference were being used to examine the future of cross-strait threats and Taiwan’s security needs.
He said the Taiwanese military’s new focus on disaster rescue, recovery and relief and asymmetric options for the armed forces would also be addressed.
“The Defense Industry Conference is the most important private event reviewing US-Taiwan defense and security issues each year,” he said.
Other keynote speakers included Wallace Gregson, assistant secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs at the US Department of Defense and Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary for political--military affairs at the US Department of State.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
Taiwanese-independence advocates yesterday accused former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of breaking national security laws and called on the judiciary to investigate after his statement that “China will wage a battle, which will be quick and will be the last battle for Taiwan.” Ma showed his true colors “as a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party” in his speech on Monday when he said the “first battle will be the last,” Taiwan Republic Office (台灣國辦公室) director Chilly Chen (陳峻涵) said. “Ma is threatening Taiwanese by claiming that Beijing will launch a quick invasion of Taiwan, but that the US military will have no
CHASTISING CHINA: Taiwan’s approach to combating the coronavirus stands in stark contrast to the country where the outbreak began, the US health secretary said International organizations are not the place to play politics, especially when the matter relates to healthcare, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said in Taipei yesterday, adding that the region and the world are safer because of Taiwan’s commitment to health promotion. On the third day of his visit, the highest-level visit by a senior US Cabinet official in decades, Azar met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) at the Grand Mayfull Hotel in Zhongshan District (中山) yesterday morning, following his meetings with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中)