Minister expresses gratitude to the US

DEFENSE::A bill proposed by Don Bacon shows the strong support Taiwan has in the US, and Taipei will work with Washington to promote cooperation, Joseph Wu said

By Su Yung-yao, Peng Wan-hsin and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Tue, May 29, 2018 - Page 1

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday expressed gratitude to the US Congress for its staunch support of the nation by once again advancing legislation aimed at bolstering Taiwan, this time to establish a commission to boost its defense capability.

Wu made the comment in response to the Taiwan Defense Assessment Commission Act of 2018, which was introduced by Republican Representative Don Bacon earlier this month and proposes that a commission be established not later than 90 days after the enactment of the Act to conduct a comprehensive assessment of Taiwan’s defense establishment and provide recommendations to help boost Taiwan’s self-defense capability.

The bill indicates that the US reinforcing its commitment to Taiwan is consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act and the “six assurances,” as both governments work to improve Taiwan’s self-defense capability.

It also proposes that not later than one year after the commission is established, the Secretary of Defense must submit to Taiwan’s Minister of National Defense and the congressional defense committees a report on the commission’s recommendations.

The proposed bill shows the strong support that Taiwan has among US lawmakers, Wu said, adding that Taipei will work closely with Washington to ensure the deepening of defense cooperation between the countries and to guarantee regional peace and stability.

Wu made the remarks before giving a report to the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee on the government’s strategy for responding to the diplomatic situation facing Taiwan after losing two diplomatic allies in a single month.

Burkina Faso broke off diplomatic ties with Taiwan on Thursday last week after the Dominican Republic did the same on April 30.

Separately yesterday, when asked for comment, Lin Wen-cheng (林文程), professor of China and Asia Pacific region studies at National Sun Yat-sen University, said that Taiwan should look to strengthen security arrangements with the US and Japan.

As Beijing has proved unwilling to reciprocate the moderate policies of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) over the past two years, the Taiwanese government should not stay on the defensive in cross-strait issues, but should consider active countermeasures, he said.

The promulgation in the US of the Taiwan Travel Act and the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018, which authorizes ports-of-call visits between Taiwanese and US navies showed that the nation has an opportunity to be proactive, he said.

For instance, Taiwan could be making a strong show of support for the US in the trade war against China, he said.

“China has forced our hand and put the question of our survival as a sovereign nation before us; we are left with no alternatives,” he added.

Former foreign affairs minister Chen Chien-jen (程建人) said that Taiwan needs to have a multi-faceted diplomatic strategy that simultaneously strengthens internal consensus and relations with China, as well as with other countries.