Taiwan’s defense policy should be peaceful: report

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Apr 01, 2013 - Page 3

Taiwan should not ignore its national defense amid the peaceful development of cross-strait ties, a report by special investigative task force formed by the Control Yuan said recently.

The report on national defense strategy and measures was commissioned as the government reviews its China policy following Beijing’s completion of its once-in-a-decade leadership transition last month.

The report said that starting a war across the Taiwan Strait is not in the interest of the people on either side, therefore the main aims of Taiwan’s national security strategy should be establishing peace and rapprochement. To achieve these goals, the nation needs to build up its defensive capabilities and ensure its sovereignty, the report said.

It added that since there are massive differences between Taiwan and China in terms of land, population and economy, Taiwan’s national defense strategy is not aimed at competing militarily with China, but improving the quality of its military to produce an effective deterrent against Chinese aggression.

The task force said that given the Taiwan’s financial situation, limited national resources and all-voluntary military service, the government should gauge its need for military deployment by taking into consideration its human, land and other resources. The government should also keep in mind the principles of efficiency and efficacy when negotiating for arms procurement deals and must avoid wasting resources and preventing weapons from sitting idle.

Meanwhile, Kuo Ray-hwa (郭瑞華), a research fellow with the Prospect and Exploration monthly journal, said that although the new Chinese leadership contains officials familiar with Taiwan affairs, Taipei cannot hope for a more amicable Beijing because these officials are not necessarily Taiwan-friendly.

Kuo said that China’s Taiwan policy is dominated by military officials and that Beijing’s long-term goals are reunification with Taiwan, which it sees as a part of the broader aim of protecting its sovereignty and upholding it territorial integrity.

This is why China has designated preventing Taiwan from moving toward independence and promoting reunification as its most important national interest, he said.

Kuo added that the world will be watching to see whether Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) exercises full control over his country’s armed forces, adding that cross-strait relations do not just affect Taiwan and China, but also the national interests of the US and Japan, as well as regional peace in East Asia.