Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) yesterday shrugged off Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s (李顯龍) concerns that Taiwan would be left stranded in the event of a cross-strait conflict, saying that there is no such problem.
Lin made the remarks on the sidelines of an international law forum on South China Sea disputes at Soochow University in Taipei, which was attended by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and dozens of academics.
“There is no such problem. We will do our utmost to [promote Taiwan’s] international status,” Lin said when asked to comment on remarks Lee made in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Mar. 29 during a visit to the US, the transcript of which was shared by the prime minister on Facebook on Wednesday.
Lin said Ma has endeavored to promote Taiwan’s roles as a peacemaker and a provider of humanitarian aid in the international arena and to assuage tensions in the South China Sea.
“All of these are positive developments,” said Lin, who has been at the center of media attention in the past few days following Kenya’s forced deportation of 45 Taiwanese to Beijing on Friday last week and on Tuesday.
The incident has fueled anti-China sentiment in Taiwan and raised concerns that it could cause cross-strait ties to run aground.
In the lengthy interview, Lee expressed hope that progress made across the Taiwan Strait under the Ma administration would be maintained and broadened by the incoming Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.
However, Lee voiced concern over the growing consciousness of a Taiwanese identity in recent years, which he said could constrain what any Taiwanese leader would be able to.
“At the same time, I think Taiwanese fully understand that if they collide with China, they will be on their own,” said Lee, who reportedly played a facilitating role in the meeting between Ma and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Singapore in November last year.
Lee said that should Taiwan opt for independence, it would not have the support of the US.
“At least the previous [US] administrations made their position very clear,” he added.
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