Taiwan must be prepared to defend itself, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday after documents reportedly showed that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) had considered invading the nation in the fall.
In a post on Facebook dated Thursday last week, exiled Russian dissident Vladimir Osechkin, who founded the France-based human rights group Gulagu Net, referenced the documents, which are purportedly leaked Russian intelligence.
“Xi Jinping was at least considering taking over Taiwan in the fall — he needs his own little victory to get re-elected for a third term — there the struggle within the elite is colossal,” Osechkin wrote, citing the documents.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
“Now, after the Ukrainian events, this window of opportunity has been closed to him, which gives the United States the opportunity to both blackmail Xi and negotiate with its competitors on favorable terms,” he wrote, quoting what the documents showed was an analyst writing for the Russian Federal Security Service.
Wu told reporters: “I cannot ascertain [the documents’] veracity, but we must be prepared to defend ourselves regardless of if or when China intends to attack.”
Separately, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General Shih Shun-wen (史順文) declined to comment on the matter, saying only that the military continues to monitor Chinese actions closely and is preparing as necessary to defend national security.
At a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee yesterday, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) asked Wu whether the government has made plans to defend Taiwan without direct US military support, as a recent poll suggested that many Taiwanese are skeptical about Washington’s commitment.
A poll conducted by the Taiwan Center for International Strategic Studies on Tuesday showed that 47 percent of respondents do not believe that the US is sincere in its promises to assist Taiwan with its defense.
Wu said that the government’s consistent policy is for Taiwan to defend itself and that it is poised to announce new arms deals with the US.
Washington believes that giving Taiwan weapons is necessary for self-defense as a part of its legal obligations under its Taiwan Relations Act, he said.
Moreover, it has engaged Taiwan in discussions on security arrangements and is deploying forces to exclude threats from the Indo-Pacific region, he added.
Later yesterday, Shih said that the defense ministry would brief the public after the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency officially notifies the US Congress of any new arms sales to Taiwan.
In related news, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in her capacity as Democratic Progressive Party chairperson told the party’s Central Standing Committee that her administration would press on with the development of dual-use technologies to bolster the armed forces and Taiwan’s defense industry.
The government is committed to developing and improving the nation’s capability to efficiently mobilize civilian resources during war, including taking stock of the country’s food, fuel and industrial capabilities, Tsai said.
Additional reporting by Aaron Tu
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