The core objective of the US partnership with Taiwan is to ensure that the island is “strong and confident, and free from coercion and threat,” a senior Pentagon official reportedly told the US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference.
Only when it acts from a position of strength can Taipei engage in productive dialogue with Beijing to equitably and peacefully merge differences, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy Daniel Chiu said.
The conference was closed to the press and the Pentagon refused to provide a copy of Chiu’s remarks, but several different sources provided the Taipei Times with an outline of the keynote speech delivered on Monday. Overall, those attending the conference were reassured by Chiu’s words, which followed widespread discussion that the US had been neglecting Taiwan.
Chui said that the US’ obligation to Taiwan did not begin and end with arms sales. Washington’s overall defense cooperation was broader and more consequential than any single dimension of it, he said, adding that Taiwan needed to focus its planning and procurement efforts on a nontraditional, innovative and asymmetric approach.
Defense reforms to date were important and necessary, but were not sufficient, Chiu said.
The preservation of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is fundamental to broader US strategic interests, chief among them the promotion of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, Chiu said.
As part of a broad defense and security system agenda, the US constantly engages with Taiwan in evaluating, assessing and reviewing its defense needs. The US supported Taiwan’s military modernization efforts.
Security is a necessary precondition to peace and prosperity, and it is crucial that Taiwan’s defense force had the capability to defend the nation, he said.
It is important for Taiwan to have the military personnel, equipment and training that would make an aggressor pause before using threat or force for the purpose of coercion or aggression, he added.