War in the Taiwan Strait would only result in a “miserable victory” because of the high cost to the winner, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) told the legislature yesterday, while vowing that Taiwan would do everything in its power to avoid military conflict.
There are similarities between the situation in Ukraine, which has been invaded by Russia, and that of Taiwan, but there are also significant differences, he said.
“We have a geographic advantage, as the Taiwan Strait is a maritime barrier that is risky to cross,” he told the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.
“No one wants war. It would take much preparation and assessment to engage in war, so China should really think it through beforehand. When fighting gets started, it would be severe for everyone. From ancient wars to recent ones, there are winning sides that only result in a miserable victory because of the heavy toll,” he added.
Chiu said that his ministry’s policy is to avoid war, but to remain vigilant and be prepared for any contingencies in case conflict breaks out.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said that China would be making a mistake if it chooses military aggression against Taiwan.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
“China will pay a very heavy price,” Wu told the lawmakers.
“Because of the war in Ukraine, the world’s attention has been drawn to the security situation in the Taiwan Strait,” he said. “We are certain that China is aware of this, and it is seeing the worldwide response — that the global democratic alliance will not tolerate a country taking up arms to invade another country and undermine its sovereignty.”
National Security Bureau Director-General Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) said that China, taking advantage of the conflict in Ukraine, has heightened its political and economic pressure on Taiwan.
“This includes military threats, with China continuing its united front tactics and cognitive warfare to spread disinformation and penetrate our society. China is also engaging in cyberwarfare, stepping up hacker attacks and other tactics to intimidate us,” Chen said.
“In undertaking coordinated cyberwarfare and attacks on our Web sites, China’s purpose is to erode our national defense and digital security resources, to sow discord and internal conflict among our military and society, and to erode the public’s will to fight and defend our country,” he added.
“Our bureau is closely monitoring such Chinese campaigns in Taiwan and closely watching for any sign of hostile moves by the Chinese military,” he said.
Separately, military experts deliberated at a seminar organized by the Democratic Progressive Party on developments in Ukraine and how they affect Taiwan.
Experts agreed that the best way to deter Chinese aggression is for Taiwanese to defend their homeland.
If war breaks out, defense would be led by the armed forces, bolstered by military reservist troops, along with civilian defense networks, they said.
Asked if other nations would come to Taiwan’s aid in the event of war, Institute for National Defense and Security Research senior analyst Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲) said: “Taiwan must send a clear message to the world that we are implementing a comprehensive national defense system and will rely on ourselves, that Taiwan is not a free rider on the international community ... that our people will fight to defend Taiwan.”
Su said that fighting in Ukraine is a land war, but it would be different in Taiwan, which is surrounded by sea, posing more difficulties for China.
Taiwan also occupies a highly strategic position in the Indo-Pacific region, he added.
“Other countries will assist Taiwan in time of war, because the sea lanes around us are vital to the international community. To keep the global economy going, these lanes must be secured, given Taiwan’s pivotal role in the global supply chain, and to ensure that cargo ships and oil tankers can pass through between the Southeast Asian regions, and for Japan, South Korea and the US,” he said.
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