Legislators and church officials on Monday lent their support to Albert Lin (林哲夫), a former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator and chairman of the Taiwan Research Association of National Peace Security, who proposed that the government focus on “soft power” and develop a civilian-based national defense system to complement the armed forces and deter China’s military threat.
The government must make plans to enhance the nation’s combat readiness and focus the military on asymmetrical warfare, Lin said.
It should also implement the urban rural mission (URM) programs of the World Council of Churches (WCC) to empower people and build up networks within local communities so that the nation could implement a strong civilian defense structure like that of Switzerland, he said.
“We are facing increased belligerence from China, which threatens to annex Taiwan, as Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is expected to consolidate his power at the Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress this week. The government and Taiwanese must think about how to make a breakthrough in the ‘status quo’ to ensure our security, and protect our freedom and democracy against China’s plan to invade our nation,” Lin said.
The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan and the former DPP legislator, who represents overseas Taiwanese, have been at the forefront advocating the URM programs of the WCC.
According to the WCC, URM is a people’s movement linking urban and rural communities to support the struggle for justice and self-empowerment through the training of community leaders, and promoting solidarity among local communities by building and sustaining networks which are linked regionally with other nations as a global support system.
As well as church leaders, Lin was also endorsed by pan-green legislators at an event to launch his new book, Making Taiwan Unconquerable: The Realization of National Soft Power (使台灣不再被征服：柔性國力的發揮), which is compiled from studies and papers presented at a seminar on national security in August.
New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) said he backs Lin’s ideas and the plans presented in the book.
“Taiwanese have freedom and a democratic society, and we can elevate our soft power and other facets of our strengths to build up support from friendly nations around the world, but Taiwan must break away from the trap of the ‘one China’ doctrine,” Lim said.
“We have to liberate ourselves from the shackles of one-party dictatorial rule of the past. Our government must conduct diplomacy with its core values based on Taiwan as a sovereign nation and not under a ‘one China’ framework,” he said.
DPP Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) also supports Lin’s initiatives, such as a civilian-based national defense system.
“Taiwan must keep its military and economy strong to ensure we are not pulled into China’s sphere of influence,” Chao said.
“We must have sufficient manpower for the armed forces to defend our nation, for which we are facing the crisis of a declining birth rate and a dwindling population. So I support making adjustments and examining the current all-volunteer military force to see if it is feasible to return to a national conscription system,” he said.
Other DPP legislators, including Wang Ding-yu (王定宇), Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應), also gave their backing to the ideas and programs advocated in the book.