Wed, Oct 17, 2018 - Page 3 News List

KMT stalwarts see Taiwan as pawn

THINK TANK SEMINAR:Former National Security Bureau director-general Tsai Der-sheng said that Taiwan should not bet on either side to win in Sino-US conflicts

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan would always be used as a pawn in confrontations between the US and China, and the conflicts are likely to escalate from a trade war to military confrontations, foreign affairs experts said yesterday at a National Policy Foundation seminar in Taipei.

The seminar at the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) think tank, which also examined President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) foreign policy, drew several officials from the former KMT administration, including National Security Bureau director-general Tsai Der-sheng (蔡得勝), minister of foreign affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊), deputy minister of foreign affairs Bruce Linghu (令狐榮達) and National Security Council adviser Chiu Kun-shuan (邱坤玄), as well as former KMT legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方).

Taiwan should not bet on any side to win in Sino-US conflicts, Tsai Der-sheng said, adding that it should seek to strengthen its economic power amid the trade disputes between the two nations.

Commenting on a Sept. 25 article in Foreign Policy by Tanner Greer, which argued that Taiwan could win a war with China even without US assistance, Tsai Der-sheng said that in a conflict involving China’s southeastern provinces, the rest of China would continue to operate normally and offer logistic support, but Taiwan would not have the same option given its small size.

Lin said that many independence advocates take delight in the estranged relations between the US and China, thinking that the situation would make Taiwan safer because of the increase in US military assistance, but the opposite is true.

A conflict would mean the end of the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait, Lin said.

Some Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers have said that Taiwan would benefit from the Sino-US trade war because companies would place orders with Taiwanese suppliers rather than with those in China, but some Taiwanese businesspeople might decide to establish factories in the US, as Hong Hai Precision Industry Co has done, or have the products made in Southeast Asian factories, Lin said.

The government’s pursuit of closer ties with the US, combined with deteriorating relations between the US and China, does not help Taiwan make substantial progress in foreign policy, he said.

Taiwan has lost five allies since Tsai Ing-wen took office, and it cannot attend the World Health Assembly, or meetings of the International Civil Aeronautics Organization and other international organizations because Chinese obstructionism, he said.

No nation is exempt from the damage caused by Trump’s “America first” policy, adding that China might be the hardest hit, Lin said.

One of the side effects of the trade war is that Taiwan has now been asked to buy US$1.42 billion of US soybeans, he said.

Taiwan is a victim, not a beneficiary, of worsening Sino-US relations, he added.

Chiu said that Taiwan should seek a “dynamic equilibrium” in its relations with China as well as with the US, rather than fighting with one and relying heavily on the other.

Regardless of the nation Taiwan chooses to associate with, relations should be built on the basis of cooperation and competition, he said.

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