Unification of Taiwan and China should only proceed if it is supported by both sides, Scott Swift, a former commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said on Friday, adding that force and coercion should not be used.
“We support the one [China] policy in the context that reunification should proceed in a way that is supported by both the Taiwanese side and the Chinese side, and that force and coercion should not be used,” Swift told a seminar at the Hudson Institute, a Washington-based think tank.
Asked whether the US would come to Taiwan’s aid if China invaded, Swift did not directly address the question, but said that there were increasing numbers of US generals and flag officers visiting Taiwan.
“I think that’s helpful,” he said.
While emphasizing the importance of military exchanges between Taiwan and the US, Swift said he did not think China should feel threatened.
“The more dialogues and discourses we have, the greater opportunities [for] increasing stability throughout the region, just not only in the relationship between China and Taiwan,” he said.
Transits of US vessels through the Taiwan Strait are in compliance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), he said.
“Those transits are normal and routine in the context when that makes sense, for the [US] navy perspective,” he said.
Swift said that he would not characterize such transits as freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs), in which naval or air assets reinforce internationally recognized rights and freedoms by challenging excessive maritime claims.
For transits to be characterized as FONOPs, there has to be a specific constraint applied by a specific country that exceeds the US’ interpretation of the UNCLOS, he said.
“I am not aware of any, either by Taiwan or China, that exist, or that the US believes exist and in turn challenges with its transits,” he said after the seminar in an e-mail reply to a follow-up question by the Central News Agency.
Also at the seminar, Christine Wormuth, who was US under-secretary of defense for policy during the administration of former US president Barack Obama, said that the most important thing that Taiwan and the US can do is develop the capabilities the two sides need to make an invasion of Taiwan so unappetizing that it never happens.
“The United States needs to be investing in some capabilities it already has and in many new capabilities that it needs to get; Taiwan needs to be working on that as well,” Wormuth said.
LIABILITIES MULLED: New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi said Taipei would find out if the firm was legally registered, the guide was licensed and the weather was assessed The assets of Tian Da Local Nature Co are to be frozen after at least four people died after falling into the Beishi River (北勢溪) on an outing the company had organized on Saturday, the Taipei City Government said yesterday. Six people — two adults and four children — were washed away by a flash flood on the river in New Taipei City’s Hubaotan (虎豹潭) area. They were participating in a Nature Joy Camp outdoor activity with a group of 16 adults and 15 children led by a guide surnamed Su (蘇). As of 4:30pm yesterday, four of the missing had been
The US 7th Fleet yesterday confirmed that a US Navy ship transited the Taiwan Strait on Thursday and Friday. “The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey [DDG 105] conducted a Taiwan Strait transit in cooperation with Royal Canadian Navy [RCN] Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Winnipeg, October 14-15, 2021,” the US 7th Fleet said in a statement. “Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific. Cooperation like this represents the centerpiece of our approach to a secure and prosperous region,” it added. The transit marked the
‘COUNTERPRODUCTIVE’: The German, French and Singaporean missions said that Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions are hindering local projects and business operations Several foreign missions in Taiwan have urged the government to ease its strict COVID-19 border controls, which they say are hurting in-person exchanges and business operations. The missions made the appeal in response to media inquiries on how the border controls have affected their respective countries’ exchanges with Taiwan, amid growing concerns voiced privately by Taiwan-based foreign offices and businesses regarding the restrictions. Taiwan has maintained strict entry requirements since March last year, generally prohibiting most arrivals except for citizens and foreign residents, while it has required those who enter the country to undergo a stringent 14-day quarantine. Although the rules have been
PROTECTION: The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a full vaccination rate of 30 percent, and allowing mixed first and second doses to boost coverage rates Whether Taiwan reopens its borders would depend on the nation’s vaccination coverage rate and the COVID-19 situation in other countries, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) said yesterday. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is aiming for a 70 percent first-dose vaccination coverage and 30 percent two-dose coverage as part of its consideration, Shih told a media briefing following the weekly Cabinet meeting. In spite of a relatively stable COVID-19 situation in Taiwan, and calls from foreign missions and businesses in the country to allow more international travelers, the government is maintaining strict border control measures. Since March last year,