Thu, Sep 15, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Tsai vows to rebuild US relations

STRAIT TALK:Tsai Ing-wen said the DPP’s approach to China would be ‘stable and balanced’ and in line with the ‘mainstream consensus’ and international expectations

By William Lowther  /  Staff Reporter in Wshington

Tsai said that the US was Taiwan’s most important and reliable partner in international relations.

“The friendship extends deep into the emotional sentiments of the Taiwanese people who value the multiple dimensions of trade, cultural, educational and historical interactions that we have had,” she said.

Tsai said that it was a party priority to maintain the strategic balance across the Taiwan Strait and that it would involve the Taiwan military receiving adequate support from the US “to defend ourselves.”

She said that while peace and development appear to be the common lingo across the Taiwan Strait, peace must be backed by a commitment to security.

“Despite the conciliatory attitude of our current government toward China, the military buildup across the Strait has not ceased,” Tsai said. “Recent developments of the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] in advanced weapons systems and naval capabilities have tipped the balance in China’s favor, and Taiwan’s ability to deter and defend against the use of force will no longer be credible unless we demonstrate our commitment to investing in Taiwan’s self defense.”

“We would welcome a decision by the US to provide Taiwan with advanced defense systems that are deemed necessary through a process of mutual consultation between our militaries and defense experts,” she said. “The DPP, and in particular our legislative caucus, has expressed disappointment in the [President] Ma [Ying-jeou (馬英九)] administration’s lack of dedication to a strong defense in the apparent declining budget proposals submitted. The situation must be rectified by a stronger demonstrated commitment.”

Both the US and Taiwan, she said, faced the issue of a more aggressive Chinese military with “core interest” claims that threatened the freedom of navigation and regional stability, but that the US and Taiwanese relationships with China were “fundamentally different” in nature and “some of our policy responses may not be entirely the same.”

“That is why it is absolutely important that we constantly communicate our objectives and our strategies, to ensure a norm of predictability and consistency,” she said. “At the moment, most Taiwanese seem to accept the ‘status quo’ where Taiwan is by all practical definitions already an independent country, and although people are frustrated by international discrimination, the desire to maintain political separation from China is commonly apparent.”

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