Sat, Oct 05, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan needs strong foreign policy, academics say

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan should consider making foreign relations its top priority, given the new type of power relationship proposed by China that is expected to shape ties among Taipei, Beijing and Washington, experts said yesterday.

Taiwan is in a sensitive position, as US strategies toward Taiwan and the Asia-Pacific region often involve China, said Soong Hseik-wen (宋學文), a professor at National Chung Cheng University’s Institute of Strategic Studies and International Affairs, during a seminar organized by the Institute for National Policy Research to discuss Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) policies on the US and Japan.

Wu Der-yuan (吳得源), an associate research fellow in China Studies at National Chengchi University’s Institute of International Relations, said China bases its new type of power relationship — between Beijing and Washington — on cooperation between the two countries.

Since the US pivot to Asia announced by US President Barack Obama’s administration is expected to clash with China’s “core interests,” Taiwan and China might have to modify their policies on relations between each other, Soong said.

As Taiwan has adopted a strategy of staying close to the US, making peace with China and maintaining friendly ties with Japan, Soong said the Taiwanese authorities should think about the distance between the country and the three global powers.

Taiwan should also consider putting foreign relations ahead of building ties with China when formulating foreign policy, Soong said.

Wu, for his part, said that Beijing’s view that Taiwan is part of its core interests poses a threat to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) stance, which is supported by the US, of “no independence and no military action” across the Taiwan Strait.

Such a situation, Wu said, shows the underlying risks of Ma’s diplomatic truce with China.

If Beijing receives no support or positive response from Washington in their “great power relationship” when issues involving “core interests” come up, China might choose to protect its own interests and refuse to cooperate, Wu said.

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