Mon, Mar 27, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan should embrace India: NSC official

GROWING FORCE Council Deputy Secretary-General Parris Chang said that India was seeking to become a power in South Asia and had improved its relations with the US

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former vice premier Wu Rong-i, right, points to a map while presiding over the final day of the 2006 Asia-Pacific Peace Watch conference in Taipei yesterday. He slammed China's suppression of Taiwan's diplomacy, saying that only if the arms procurement bill was passed could there be a possibility to hold cross-strait peace talks.

PHOTO: CHU PEI-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

With India's increasing influence in the South Asian region, Taiwan might want to extend its "go south" policy to include that country and seek more economic and political cooperation with the developing economy, a top official at the National Security Council (NSC) said yesterday.

"The world is observing the warming relations between the US and India, especially the most recent US-India nuclear agreement, which US President George W. Bush hopes the US Congress will endorse despite the fact that India has not signed the UN's nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," council Deputy Secretary-General Parris Chang (張旭成) said.

"India sees China as its biggest threat in the region and its alignment with the US reflects a change of course in its foreign policy," he said.

Chang made the remarks on the last day of the Asia-Pacific Peace Watch conference in Taipei.

The two-day symposium was organized by the Taiwan Peace Foundation. While the first day of the forum focused on the security situation in Northeast Asia, the Taiwan Strait and Southeast Asia, the second centered on South Asia and the South Pacific.

Chang, who chaired the South Asia session yesterday, said that India's ambition to become one of the dominant powers in the region hinged on its relationships with the US and China.

In addition to building closer relations with the US, India last April agreed to forge a strategic relationship with Beijing.

Chen Han-hua (陳漢華), a council member, said that he expected to see the demand for oil in South Asia increase, forcing countries in the region to seek supplies from the Middle East or to cooperate with foreign investors in oil exploration programs in the region.

What Taiwan can do to help is to provide South Asian countries with petrochemical technology, Chen said.

Chen also warned India of the dangers of dealing with the Chinese authorities, pointing out that China is very good at adopting the approach of "using warm water to cook frogs," meaning that the frog does not realize it is dying because it grows used to the warm temperature.

Senior adviser to the president and former vice premier Wu Rong-i (吳榮義), who chaired the South Pacific forum, criticized China for bullying Taiwan and suppressing the nation's presence on the international stage.

Wu also emphasized that Taiwan had to become a stronger country before conducting talks with China.

"That is why it is so important for the legislature to pass the arms procurement plan as soon as possible," he said.

Analyzing China's influence in the South Pacific, Chang Yu-chang (張裕常) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that China aspired to accomplish three things in the South Pacific region with its booming economy.

First, China wanted to buy diplomatic relations and isolate Taiwan, he said.

Chang said that China had invested US$4 million to build a stadium in Fiji and US$15.5 million to construct a swimming pool there.

China's generous contributions had won Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) a ticket to attend this year's China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum Ministerial Conference in Fiji in April, he said.

Second, China wanted to invest in natural resources in the region, he said.

Chang said that China had obtained the consent of Austria to obtain uranium from that country.

Finally, China wanted to mold the South Pacific to its own strategic requirements in order to counter the US in the region, Chang said.

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