A Chinese invasion of Taiwan is unlikely for the time being due to the internal challenges and international pressure that China is facing, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told the New York Times in an interview shown on Wednesday.
“My thought is that perhaps this is not a time for them [China] to consider a major invasion of Taiwan,” Tsai said in a prerecorded interview for the DealBook Summit held by the newspaper on Wednesday.
Beijing’s leadership is presently “overwhelmed by its internal challenges” on economic, financial and political grounds, while the international community “has made it loud and clear that war is not an option, and peace and stability serves everybody’s interests,” she said.
Taiwan’s like-minded partners are “making tremendous progress” in jointly managing risks across the Taiwan Strait and have reiterated the importance of cross-strait peace and stability on international occasions, she said.
Regarding a potential time line of a Chinese invasion, Tsai said that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) had “given his answer for that” during his meeting with US President Joe Biden earlier this month.
Tsai was referring to Xi’s denial of reports about a possible invasion of Taiwan by 2027 or 2035, saying “there was no such plan, no one mentioned it.”
Remaining “clear-eyed” about the threats posed by China, such as military intimidation, gray-zone tactics, cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns, Taiwanese continue to “make our utmost efforts to strengthen our defense capabilities and societal resilience,” she said.
“One is responsible for protecting one’s own homeland,” she said.
Collaboration between Taiwan and the US “has reached historic heights in recent years” across many fields, particularly on security, she said.
Largely thanks to US efforts, international society is paying closer attention to Taiwan and has recognized the indispensability of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, she said.
The US has also reaffirmed that its partnership with Taiwan would not be affected by events elsewhere, such as Russia’s war in Ukraine, she said.
The nation is “deeply grateful, as always, for the long-standing and steadfast support” of the US and remains confident in its commitment to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific, she added.
Tsai underlined the importance of meetings with former US House of Representatives speakers Kevin McCarthy and Nancy Pelosi, as they demonstrated the close ties between Taiwan and the US.
When asked whether the Biden administration prioritizing moving some chip production to the US would influence Taiwan-US ties, Tsai said that it is a “good move” in the sense that Taiwan could help its allies build supply chain resilience and have access to resources in the US, especially human resources and talent.
Tsai expressed confidence that “the capacity that we [Taiwan] have now, and the importance of our industry, cannot be replaced anywhere else,” adding that the nation has “more than semiconductors to be valuable.”
As businesses around the globe are looking for alternatives or additional bases in the region due to wariness of the risks in China, Tsai encouraged them to foster closer ties with Taiwan.
“Taiwan can be of tremendous value” in building resilient and secure supply chains as “a highly reliable, effective and secure partner,” she said.
On China’s attempts to interfere in Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections next month, Tsai said that “they’re probably not particularly successful” at influencing people in the democratic nation.
Countering such measures and preventing discord require greater unity and trust among different social groups and faith in the strength of democracy, she said.
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