Taiwan must shore up defense capacity in short term: AIT

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Nov 02, 2018 - Page 3

Taiwan must build an effective deterrent in the short term and develop new military capabilities in the long term, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman James Moriarty said on Monday.

“As friends, we remind Taiwan not to forsake the need for immediate readiness today for future capabilities tomorrow. I continue to encourage Taiwan to redouble its efforts to strengthen its preparations for effective all-out defense,” Moriarty said at the opening of the two-day US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference in Annapolis, Maryland.

While praising Taiwan’s efforts in developing defense systems locally and reiterating the importance of the partnership between Taiwan and the US in the face of unremitting pressure and an evolving security threat from Beijing, he urged the nation to “do more” to sharpen its defense capabilities.

“I mention this context simply to draw focus upon the current situation and to reiterate that the United States considers the security of Taiwan central to the security of the broader Indo-Pacific region,” he said.

Although Moriarty said that the US is committed to supporting Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), he warned that Taiwan’s “counterpart platforms no longer possess a quantitative advantage over the” Chinese military.

“The US commitment under the TRA is firm, but that commitment alone will not secure Taiwan in an increasingly complex regional security environment,” he said, adding that Taiwan must do its part by investing wisely in capabilities that deter aggression and would help it mount an effective defense should deterrence fail.

“While Taiwan should be commended for making long-term investments in potential new capabilities, it must also take steps that will increase its deterrent capability over the short-term,” he said.