Abolishing military conscription while wishing for Taiwanese independence shows how politics is overriding professional decisionmaking, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.
Ko made the remark in a speech at the Taichung Architecture Development Association on the second day of a Taichung trip that included visits to the Dajia Jenn Lann Temple (大甲鎮瀾宮) and Fengchia Night Market (逢甲夜市) on Friday night, as well as a fan event and a meeting with Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) at the Taichung World Flora Exposition yesterday.
An association member asked Ko after his speech whether his statement — that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are “one family” — would be a better starting point for discourse with Beijing than a statement by Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) — that Taiwanese and Chinese “deeply love each other” (你儂我儂).
Photo: Chang Jui-chen, Taipei Times
Protecting the well-being of Taiwanese is paramount, Ko said.
“In international politics, we still have to honestly face the problem of how to be strong enough [to assert our interests],” he said.
China can choose to be relentless and bully Taiwan, but Taiwan must be wise and not overexpress certain ideologies, Ko said.
Taiwan would have difficulty negotiating with China if it lacked an undivided leadership, a robust economy and a strong national defense, he said, adding that the government must be practical and count on its strengths.
Ko said he heard a US Department of Defense official ask whether Taiwan had the capability to withstand the first two days of a Chinese attack.
“Taiwan has abolished military conscription and young people are not willing to join the military, so how can we withstand two days of an attack?” Ko said. “We need help from the US, but we need to stop provoking China and build up our nation’s strengths.”
“What is the sense of calling for Taiwanese independence when we abolished compulsory military service?” he said.
Additional reporting by Chang Rui-chen
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