Tue, Jul 24, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan exposed without US: Wu

SELF-RELIANT?In response to a local media report, President Tsai Ing-wen said that a strong national defense and self-defense capabilities are ‘our’ responsibility

By Lu Yi-hsuan and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer and CNA

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu responds to a question from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Ma Wen-chun during a question-and-answer session on May 28 at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times

Without continuing US military support, Taiwan would be vulnerable to an armed takeover from Beijing, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said in an interview with CNN that aired yesterday.

CNN correspondent Matt Rivers asked Wu: “If the United States continues to increase its support — militarily — for Taiwan as you foresee, does that not increase the potential risk of confrontation — militarily — with China?”

“No, the opposite is true,” Wu said.

Stronger Taiwan-US security ties would “become a barrier for the Chinese to think about the future military scenarios against Taiwan,” Wu said.

The Chinese government says it wants to “win the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese people,” Wu said. “However, what they are doing ... is to create hatred among the regular Taiwanese people toward the Chinese government.”

Asked whether there is any concern among the Taiwanese leadership over the reliability of US President Trump Donald as a partner, Wu said that while “some people in Taiwan do worry ... what we believe, and what they told us they believe in, is that Taiwan is not tradable, and democracy is not tradable.”

Asked whether President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would push for independence, Wu said Tsai is “determined to maintain the status quo.”

“By itself, Taiwan exists outside China; Taiwan exists by itself, so there is no need for Taiwan to go beyond what it is right now,” CNN quoted Wu as saying.

In terms of diplomatic relations, which have taken a hit due to pressure from China, Wu said that “Some countries [who switched diplomatic allegiance to China] are coming back to us and saying they did not get what China promised.”

Separately yesterday, Tsai said the government would do everything in its power to defend the nation, adding that ensuring a strong national defense and self-defense capabilities are “our responsibility.”

Tsai made the remarks in response to media queries on a report by the Chinese-language China Times that said the Ministry of National Defense did not deny that the military’s revised national defense plan indicates that in the event of conflict with China, the US would not send troops to Taiwan.

Instead, Taiwan would ask the US to provide intelligence so it has a better grasp of the movements of enemy forces, the report said.

Tsai said that maintaining regional peace and stability is also the government’s responsibility and it would do its utmost to defend Taiwan and effectively deter Chinese military ambitions.

However, it is too early to say what countermeasures government agencies would take in the event of enemy action, she said.

The ministry said in a statement that Taiwan has played an important role in maintaining peace, stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region, and a robust national defense provides support for peace across the Taiwan Strait.

In the face of external threats and challenges, Taiwan will stick to its strategy of securing territory with resolute defense and utilizing multi-domain deterrence with joint capabilities, the ministry said.

Other strategic guidelines include rejecting an arms race, integrating national defense resources and continuing to bolster key national defense and combat capabilities to deter enemy forces, it said.

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