Taiwan, as long as it has the resources and will, can help combat piracy, which has been plaguing many countries in the Indian Ocean, a former US Department of State official said on Tuesday.
Kurt Volker, a former US representative to NATO, made the remarks after he gave a speech organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Foreign Service Institute and the European Union Center in Taiwan.
Responding to a question on how Taiwan can promote itself internationally, he said combating piracy is a good example of working for the common good because every country’s shipping is affected by the problem.
“We have had very diverse multi-national task forces, where the issue has really been whoever has the capacity to contribute is welcome because no one can contribute enough,” said Volker, adding that many countries and organizations have provided assistance, including China, the US, NATO and the EU.
“Everyone is contributing to this and I don’t see why Taiwan can’t do the same thing,” he said.
He acknowledged that Beijing may not approve of the move, but added: “Taiwan can contribute to an international operation in some formula” just like joining APEC as an economy, not a country.
“I’m sure there’s a reasonable way to do this if you frame it in a right way of protecting interest,” Volker said.
He cited Estonia and Lithuania as examples of how small countries with no ability to defend themselves from Russia can still make contributions to the world and be taken seriously by the world — referring to Estonia setting up the Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence in Tallinn to provide cyber defense support and Lithuania playing a part in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
Volker, 49, came to Taiwan at the invitation of the ministry. Before serving as a US representative to NATO, he served as a career foreign service officer. He now teaches at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington.