Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀) made waves last week when he told a conference in Singapore that he believed Taiwan has been independent “from 1989 to the present.”
Addressing the closing dinner of the two-day Singapore Global Dialogue on Thursday evening, the 88-year-old, who stepped down from government earlier this year after a poor showing by his People’s Action Party in general elections in May, did not elaborate on why he had chosen 1989 as the year Taiwan became “independent.”
Some Taiwanese media have speculated that the former Singaporean prime minister may have regarded the ascension of former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) to the Presidential Office the previous year as a turning point.
Despite that view, Lee Kuan Yew said that Taiwan’s “independence” would be unable to resist China, as he did not “see Taiwan being able to resist the pull of the mainland [China], with or without American help,” Singapore’s Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao reported.
No amount of security guarantees by the US or arms sales to Taiwan could counter the great pull of China, he said, because unification remains “an unshakeable goal” for the leadership in Beijing.
“[There will] come a time when [even] the Seventh Fleet cannot intervene because of Chinese aircraft carriers,” he said, referring to the refurbished Soviet-era Varyag, which held its first sea trial last month and is expected to be officially launched sometime next year.
China also has plans to build its own nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, which analysts say could be launched by 2020.
“China has always considered Taiwan as a part of China and it wants China to be reunified [sic],” he said. “The fact that Taiwan was independent from 1989 to the present does not make any difference.”
Asked for comment, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) would not speculate on the reasons behind Lee’s assertion that Taiwan is independent, choosing to focus on arms sales instead.
DPP spokesperson Liang Wen-jie (梁文傑) said that Taiwan had been able to sustain the “status quo” since 1949 because the nation maintained certain defensive capabilities.
If China attempted to take over Taiwan by force, Liang said, it would pay a huge price.
Liang added that if Taiwan, much like Hong Kong or Macau, did not have certain defensive capabilities, it would have been impossible to maintain its independent sovereignty and democratic system for 60 years.
Meanwhile, KMT spokesperson Lai Su-ju (賴素如) said that US arms sales to Taiwan would not affect cross-strait relations and that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration’s cross-strait policies of maintaining the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait under the so-called “1992 consensus” remained unchanged.
Ma has made it clear that the government will continue the “three noes” policy of no independence, no unification and no use of force in handling cross-strait relations.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih and Rich Chang
GOOD INFLUENCE: Kwan said his mother tutored him at home for a few years, saying that she had to protect his ‘creativity’ as his writing had suffered Director and coproducer of the Oscar-winning absurdist comedy-drama Everything Everywhere All at Once Daniel Kwan (關家永) on Sunday dedicated the movie to his Taiwanese mother, who he said supported his creativity growing up. “She is someone who sacrificed a lot for her kids,” Kwan, 35, said backstage at the Oscars. The movie, released early last year, received a commanding 11 nominations at the Academy Awards, and won seven, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing. Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, with whom he also directed the 2016 fantasy film Swiss Army
A domestically developed “suicide drone,” also known as a loitering munition, would be tested and evaluated in July, and could enter mass production next year, Taiwan’s weapons developer said on Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named drone was among nine drone models unveiled by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on Tuesday. The drone has been dubbed the “Taiwanese switchblade” by Chinese-language media, due to its similarity to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which has been used by Ukraine in counterattacks during Russia’s invasion. It has a range of more than 10km, a flight time of more than 15 minutes, and an electro-optical
Three people arrested earlier this year for growing cannabis plants with an estimated street value of nearly NT$20 million (US$652,507) in Chiayi County earlier this year could be sentenced to life in prison for breaching the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例), Taichung police said yesterday. A couple, surnamed Tsai (蔡), and suspect surnamed Hsu (徐) were found cultivating 91 cannabis plants on a farm in the county after law enforcement agents raided the site in the middle of January when they were about to harvest the field, Taichung police told a news conference. Taichung police said they were tipped off last year
HYGIENE KEY: The CDC reported two cases of enterovirus 71, which can cause serious complications, and as there have been no recent outbreaks, children are not immune Two cases of enterovirus 71 (EV71) were reported last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, adding that it was a warning sign, as the virus has not been detected for more than a year. Parents are advised to remind their children to practice good hand hygiene, it said. Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉), director of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Center, said that 165,230 people visited a hospital for diarrhea last week, which is a high number. Most of the diarrhea case clusters were caused by norovirus infection, but there were also enterovirus cases, and weekly caseloads are slowly increasing, Guo said. Most of