Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on Monday told US defense industry officials that under a DPP administration, Taiwan’s indigenous defense industry would expand and deepen.
He said that, as a result of DPP encouragement, there were an unprecedented number of senior executives from Taiwan’s industries — 30 from 19 different companies — attending the 14th annual US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia.
“They are the team representing a national determination to defend our nation and represent our vision to move our defense forward,” he told the conference.
Wu said the industrialists were from the aviation, shipbuilding and cybersecurity sectors.
He said that some defense items were politically sensitive and difficult for the US to sell and thus, “we would like to have the confidence of producing them in Taiwan with the necessary assistance and support of the US.”
Wu urged Taiwanese companies and the US to discuss in side meetings and “learn how we can find good business opportunities together.”
He said China’s growing military might looms over the Taiwan Strait.
“We do not want to see regional tension evolve into military conflict, we do not want Taiwan to be engulfed in military conflict should it occur and we certainly do not want our vulnerability to attract aggression,” Wu said.
He said Taiwan’s capability or vulnerability deserved a deeper look.
“Even though the cross-strait policies pursued by the current Taiwanese administration are said to have reduced tensions with China, the threat is nonetheless increasing,” Wu said.
He said that with less investment in defense and an unsuccessful attempt to change the recruitment system, Taiwan is more vulnerable than ever.
“The best way for Taiwan to prevent a war from being initiated against it would be for us to acquire credible deterrent capabilities,” Wu said. “We want to strengthen ourselves militarily to maintain cross-strait peace, and if a conflict were unfortunately to take place, we would have the necessary means to survive.”
Wu said that if the DPP returns to power in next year’s Jan. 16 presidential election, it plans to improve the nation’s naval, airborne and cyberdefense capabilities.
If the US will not sell needed weapons, Wu said, “going indigenous is the only meaningful alternative.”
However, Taiwan has an edge in the cyberdomain, which is not being properly and seriously used by the defense establishment.
Wu said that DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) had presided over a series of intense discussions aimed at preparing the future of Taiwan’s defense industry.
He said that he was more confident than ever that Taiwan could count on its indigenous industry.
Wu added that he was particularly excited about Taiwan’s potential in cyberdefense.
Senior executives from cybersecurity firm Trend Micro have met with DPP military experts and plan to upgrade some products for military use, Wu said.
Wu said that Taiwanese talent could be relied upon for the nation’s cyberdefense.
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