Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) rebutted remarks by a Beijing official that China’s missiles are not aimed at Taiwan, saying “it is hard for Taiwanese to buy his story.”
Wang Yi (王毅), director of the Taiwan Affairs Office, said during a visit to the US this week that China’s missile deployment was for self-defense and that the weapons were not aimed at Taiwan.
In response, Kao issued a press release on Friday saying that the Taiwanese “do feel threatened” by Chinese missiles, which he called an “indisputable fact.”
Kao said that Wang’s remarks were even more unconvincing at a time when cross-strait tensions were easing.
The two sides have signed 15 agreements over the past three years and the improved relations have led to unprecedented “signs of peace” across the Taiwan Strait and garnered positive responses from the international community, Kao said.
Even US arms sales to Taiwan in 2008 and last year have not changed the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, he said.
Instead, the weapons sales to Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) have served to reassure the Taiwanese public and helped push forward relations between Taiwan and China, he said.
Kao said the positive effects of the US arm sales could be seen in the improved relations between the two sides over the past three years.
He also agreed with the view that the two sides should not “resort to arms again.”
He said that the current administration is against the use of force, in line with its principles of “no unification, no independence and no use of force.”
Since both sides of the Strait are against resorting to arms, efforts should be made to carry out this ideal with active and concrete measures, he said.
Kao also called on the US to honor the TRA and sell F-16C/Ds and diesel-electric submarines to Taiwan to ensure peace and stability in the region.
According to the TRA, the US is obliged to sell arms to Taiwan to help it defend itself. The TRA also stipulates that the US should not consult with China before selling arms to Taiwan.
Kao said that Taiwan’s F-5 jet fighters are aging and that China’s development of J-20 stealth fighters could exacerbate the imbalance of military power between the two sides.
In related news, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was quoted by a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report published on Friday as saying that the changing relationship between the US and China had made it harder for Taiwan to purchase weapons from the US.
Ma made the remarks in an interview with the WSJ at the presidential office a day earlier.
Ma said Taiwan had already submitted a plan for upgrading its F-16A/B jets to the US and Washington had accepted Taipei’s “letter of request” in this regard.
The president added that the US was still mulling whether to sell more advanced F-16C/D aircraft to Taiwan.
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