If Taiwan does not get the F-16C/D aircraft it seeks from the US to replace its aging fleet, Taipei will lose its leverage and face immediate challenges in fulfilling its responsibilities of preserving peace and stability in Asia, Deputy Minister of National Defense Andrew Yang (楊念祖) told a defense magazine in an interview published yesterday.
“Washington sometimes does not get the right picture of Taiwan’s responsibility. That is part of the reason we want new fighters,” Yang told Defense News in a wide-ranging interview. “Otherwise, the US has to send its own military to replace our daily patrols in the region.”
On the implications of the US announcing on Oct. 1 — the date set last month for an official decision on the matter — that it would proceed with the sale, Yang said Beijing had already sent strong warnings to Washington.
“They will be extremely unpleasant and upset, as they always are,” he said.
Asked what retaliatory measures Beijing would likely take, Yang said he did not believe Beijing would adopt drastic economic actions against the US.
“They have a lot of investments, including huge foreign reserves in US banks. If the US economy suffers, Beijing suffers,” he said.
More likely, Yang said, was that Beijing would cut off regular military exchanges.
“But if we look at previous experiences, they will be downgraded for a while, but they [the US and China] have strong mutual interests binding each other together. So they have to make a decision on what will be the next step,” he said.
Commenting on a scenario in which China would take control of Taiwan and place bases here, Yang said this would open the door for military and power projection “not only into the East China Sea, but also into the South China Sea.”
“Taiwan would become an important hub and stepping stone for China to exert and expand its presence in the South China Sea, which is certainly not in the US’ interest. It would immediately challenge US strategic calculations and its security umbrella in the Asia--Pacific region,” Yang said. “If Taiwan becomes part of China in terms of political integration in the future, then immediately the United States will lose a vital interest in this part of the world.”
On the possibility of Taiwan stepping up its military presence on Taiping Island (太平島) in the South China Sea, Yang said the Ministry of National Defense was not ruling out that option.
“But the current decision adopted by the National Security Council and the president is to improve and reinforce the Coast Guard’s capability on the island," Yang said. “[However,] We will never allow China to step onto the island. It is part of our territory, under our management. There is no room for compromise.”
Liya Chu (朱如茵), whose parents are New York-based Taiwanese restaurateurs, has been crowned the champion of US television cooking competition MasterChef Junior, after wowing the judges, including celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, with a feast of fusion cuisine. In the finale of the show’s eighth season, broadcast on Thursday, Chu walked away with US$100,000 after serving a spread of spiced duck breast with scallion pancakes and miso eggplant, followed by coconut pandan panna cotta with a passion fruit coulis and sesame tuille. Chu, who was 10 years old at the time of filming three years ago, faced off against then-11-year-old Grayson Price from
A university student has gained the spotlight for an interactive map he designed detailing all of China’s military bases and installations throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Soochow University music student Joseph Wen (溫約瑟), who calls himself an amateur military enthusiast, said he created the map to “help people better understand the cross-strait situation.” Wen originally posted the map online on June 14 last year, but it gained greater attention after he mentioned it during an appearance on a China Television talk show. On the show, Wen said he had gathered information on the locations from publicly available Web sites, as
RISK FACTORS: ‘We hope people can cooperate and endure it ... it is possibly the very important last mile,’ Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations are to remain the same next month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The center reported 42,112 new local COVID-19 cases and 85 deaths, saying that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has dropped to a new low this month. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said that the center is keeping COVID-19 restrictions and mask regulations the same due to the local virus situation, and an increase in the number of imported cases of the new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 of SARS-CoV-2, among other risk factors. Easing
GLOBAL STRATEGY: Indo-Pacific alliances need reinforcement to prevent Chinese occupation of Taiwan, which would threaten Japan, Hawaii and Australia, Pompeo said The US should officially recognize Taiwan as a free, independent nation and establish official diplomatic ties, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo told an event at the Hudson Institute in Washington on Friday. Every US president since Harry Truman has considered Taiwan’s existence to be of utmost importance to US national security, Pompeo said. Taiwan is a principal US partner in technology and economic matters, and if China were to capture Taiwan’s semiconductor supply chain, it would severely hamper the US economy, Pompeo said. Should China occupy Taiwan, it would severely weaken US influence in the Indo-Pacific region and its surrounding areas,