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.”
RULES IGNORED: CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang said that crew members who break the rules would be required to complete the full 14-day quarantine Three EVA Airways flight attendants were fired last month and this month after they failed to follow the government’s quarantine requirements. This was the first time that flight attendants have lost their jobs for quarantine failures. One flight attendant reportedly breached the quarantine mandate by going to school, visiting relatives and dining with friends, while lying to the company about her activities, EVA Air said. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) have established disease prevention measures for cabin crew members, such as monitoring their health and reporting their temperature daily, the company said. While on flight duty, crew
LOOPHOLES: The people behind biased media content produced by a Chinese network, likely without sending staff to Taiwan, remain anonymous, a source said Beijing’s latest attempt at psychological warfare through heavily biased online media is aimed at sowing discord and polarizing Taiwanese society, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said. The council’s comment came in response to Chinese network Southeast Television, which late last month began broadcasting an online program featuring commentary by Taiwanese unification supporters that authorities suspect was filmed illegally in Taiwan. To circumvent cross-strait regulations, the broadcaster collaborated with online service provider Baidu to air the series titles Diverse Voices From the Taiwan Strait (台海百家說). Only Taiwanese are shown on camera, without revealing the host, interviewer or production team. In one video, political commentator and
A group of overseas Taiwanese in Norway are taking a case on their national identity to the European Court of Human Rights — with plans to file the case in the first half of next year — after Norway’s Supreme Court rejected their appeal to change their listed nationality from “China” to “Taiwan,” Joseph Liu, a Taiwanese lawyer living in Norway, told reporters on Monday. One of the initiators of the movement, “My Name, My Right,” Liu and his group plan to hire lawyers from the UK and France who know European law and have knowledge of Asia to represent them,
SUPPRESSION: Michael Tsai, a former defense minister, said that Beijing’s list of Taiwan independence advocates contravenes the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights The best way to respond to threats from China against Taiwan independence advocates is for the president to publicly reiterate Taiwan’s sovereignty, former minister of national defense Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) said on Sunday. Chinese media on Nov. 15 said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was compiling “a list of stubborn Taiwanese separatists and will severely punish them in accordance with [China’s] Anti-Secession Law and hold them accountable for their actions for the rest of their lives.” Chinese media subsequently accused Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of being a “first-rate war criminal,” because of his policy on mask exports. “The vast majority