The most destabilizing element of cross-strait relations is China’s refusal to renounce the use of force against Taiwan, former US House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan said yesterday in Taipei.
“I think it is self-evident that perhaps the most destabilizing element ... of cross-strait relations is Beijing’s refusal to renounce the use of force to achieve its goal of unification,” Ryan said in his keynote speech at the one-day Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue.
He cited as examples Chinese military aircraft circling Taiwan at least 20 times since November 2017 and two Chinese fighter jets crossing the median line in the Taiwan Strait late last month for the first time in two decades.
Photo: Ritchie B. Tongo, EPA-EFE
The latest such action occurred on Monday, when a US delegation headed by Ryan arrived in Taiwan to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the implementation of the US’ Taiwan Relations Act and the establishment of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) at a banquet in the AIT’s new compound in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖), which is to officially open on May 6.
“The world is watching whether Beijing treats Taiwan with the dignity and the respect that it deserves. And make no mistake about it: This is a crucial test [of] whether China is qualified to take on the leadership role internationally that it believes is befitting its size and stature,” Ryan said.
Committing to a peaceful dialogue would be the first and most important step for Beijing to demonstrate to a “skeptical world” that “China can lead in an aspiring and benevolent fashion,” Ryan added.
“So I urge Beijing to choose the path of peace, the path of respects [and] of civility, by resuming dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected administration,” he said.
The US’ policy of supporting Taiwan’s defensive needs has been consistent across seven US administrations, AIT Director Brent Christensen said, adding that both major political parties in the US have helped foster Taiwan’s prosperity and democratic development.
“The US’ vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific dovetails neatly with our security cooperation with Taiwan. This vision promotes stability and security cooperation across the Indo-Pacific region to ensure that all parties are free from external coercion,” Christensen said.
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