President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has adopted a policy of “accommodating” Beijing, a former US official told a congressional hearing on Chinese military and economic aggression.
John Tkacik, a former US diplomat and expert on Chinese and Taiwanese affairs, testified that over the past few months, there had been “an entirely new change in the political posture of Taiwan.”
He said that under the Ma administration, Taiwan now “basically agrees” that it is part of China.
Tkacik, who served as the US Department of State’s chief China analyst, added that once Taiwan makes that choice, “you are looking at Taiwan moving out of the column of the community of democracies.”
Taiwan could become part of China’s security interests, he said.
Tkacik said that Taiwan still had a sophisticated basing structure, including phased array radar systems designed to scan China for ballistic missile launches, but in future the radar systems could be turned around to scan the Western Pacific and monitor US military activity.
Similarly, Taiwan’s deep-water ports could become home to China’s diesel-electric submarines, he said.
“There is also a possibility of China-Taiwan cooperation against Japan and the United States in the East China Sea,” he said. “This is what we are looking at. President Ma now has a very clear China policy, but he does not have an America policy.”
Tkacik told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing that under US President Barack Obama and former US president George W. Bush, Washington had “cut Taiwan loose.”
“Taiwan is now in a phase where they feel they have no support in the United States. The US government is not supporting a Taiwan that is part of the network of Asian democracies,” he said. “When faced with that kind of situation, the Taiwanese voters say there is no sense in voting for any kind of government that is going to challenge China because we are not going to get any support.”
“If that were to change, it would make a big difference in Taiwan’s electoral process,” he said.
As of now, Tkacik said, the government in Taipei is adopting policies that are moving “inexorably” toward China.
Larry Wortzel, a member of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, told the committee that he thought Tkacik was right.
However, he stressed that Ma was acting with the support of the legislature and voters.
US Representative Howard Berman, the ranking Democrat on the committee, asked those testifying if the Obama administration’s offer to upgrade Taiwan’s aging F-16 aircraft was sufficient for the nation’s self-defense.
Dean Cheng (成斌), a research fellow with the Heritage Foundation, said the upgrades were directed at aircraft that were already 20 years old.
“Every aircraft that is being upgraded is being pulled off the line for an extended period of time. That means the net number of aircraft that Taiwan can put in the air is reduced,” Cheng said. “The proposed sale of new F-16C/Ds would replace aircraft that were designed in the 1950s.”
Cheng said that not selling the F-16C/Ds to Taiwan meant the Taiwanese air force was being reduced through “sheer attrition and age,” without China having to do anything.
‘FREEDOM WINE’: Taiwanese are empathetic of Australians, the president said, while lawmakers called on their constituents to drink Australian wine to show their support Taiwan would take action to back Australians at a time when they are “under tremendous pressure,” President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, as tensions between Australia and China heated up. Taipei and Canberra have been mutually supportive in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in exchanging critical medical materials in the early stages, Tsai said, before chairing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Central Standing Committee meeting in Taipei. Taiwan and Australia are like-minded nations, sharing the common values of democracy, freedom and human rights, while their economic and trade relations have also become close, she said. Canberra has been voicing support for Taiwan’s international
VIGILANCE: From tomorrow all arrivals must provide the result of a PCR test issued within three days of boarding, and the CECC asked people to report anyone who has faked their result The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) expects an increase in the number of returning travelers in the coming days, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, adding that the varying qualities of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test reports from other countries is a big concern. Chen, who heads the center, was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders scholarship award ceremony in Taipei. “As the global COVID-19 situation is worsening, and with some holidays coming up, there might be an increase in the number of overseas Taiwanese returning to Taiwan,” he
SKIN, ENTRAILS: Placards also dotted the legislative chamber, with slogans such as ‘Oppose ractopamine pork — not US pork’ and ‘Much ado about nothing’ Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday pelted Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) with pig skin and entrails as he addressed the Legislative Yuan on pork imports for the first time since the KMT’s boycott began on Sept. 18. Opposition lawmakers have been demanding an apology from the government for its decision to lift its ban on the importation of US pork containing residues of the livestock drug ractopamine. After Su arrived at 10am for his 13th attempt to deliver a regular policy report, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus moved to change the agenda to accommodate the premier. The motion resulted in cries of
CECC RULES: The autumn-winter COVID-19 prevention program, including mandatory mask wearing in eight types of public venues and indoor facilities, begins today A temporary, two-week ban on Indonesian migrant workers entering the nation is to begin on Friday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday as it reported 24 new imported cases of COVID-19. Twenty of the new cases are Indonesian migrant workers who arrived between Nov. 11 and Friday last week, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. The cases were discovered during a special project on Friday to conduct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on all 939 recently arrived Indonesian migrant workers in centralized quarantine facilities, as the majority of imported cases in the past