Sat, Mar 14, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan prepared to defend itself alone: ex-defense minister

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

This is a file photo of former minister of national defense Andrew Yang taken in August, 2013.

Photo: Taipei Times

Provocations and tension from China are on the rise, but Taiwan is always prepared to defend itself — with or without US help — former minister of national defense Andrew Yang (楊念祖) told a Washington conference on Thursday.

“We always assume that defending ourselves is our own responsibility,” Yang said.

Now an assistant professor at National Sun Yat-sen University, Yang was answering a question as to whether Taiwan had an “unrealistic expectation” about when US help would arrive — or even if it would arrive at all — in the case of a Chinese invasion.

“I get asked this question all the time,” he said.

Yang said that as a “responsible, accountable government,” Taipei had to assume it might have to stand alone.

He repeated that in terms of national defense policy, the nation had to take responsibility for itself.

“It is a commitment we have made to our own survival and to our people, and that is very important,” Yang said.

He also told the Jamestown Foundation’s fifth annual China Defense and Security Conference held at the Carnegie Endowment that cybersecurity was “high on the agenda” in terms of defense.

Yang said that Taiwan faced millions of cyberattacks from China and that they came on a daily basis.

He said that Chinese expansion of air and naval activities in the East and South China seas added tension and the threat of escalation to the region.

“Taiwan inevitably is facing challenges and threats in the course of military and security game changes,” he said.

In addition, Taiwan’s challenges and threats were “more imminent” than those faced by other US allies in the region, Yang said.

The military threat from China has remained a daily reality, he said.

“Beijing still holds the option to employ the use of force to achieve political unification,” Yang said.

In a paper prepared for the conference, Yang said that Taiwan and the US shared common concerns regarding the strategic and security situation, particularly China’s increasing naval and air power projection into the East China Sea.

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