Security and economic development cannot be separated, and like-minded partners should economically integrate to create a free, safe and prosperous region, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told a forum yesterday.
Tsai opened the two-day Ketagalan Forum — 2020 Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue in Taipei, joined by Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發), as some foreign experts participated via videoconferencing.
In her opening address, Tsai highlighted Taiwan’s achievements in containing COVID-19 and the nation’s progress in boosting its defense capability.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Taiwan is the second-largest mask producer in the world and has a daily capacity of 20 million, has donated more than 51 million masks to more than 80 countries, she said.
The motto “Taiwan can help” applies to disease prevention as well as national defense, she said.
Taiwan stands at the forefront of defending democracy from authoritarian aggression, and as president, she has worked to accelerate the development of its asymmetric warfare capability by increasing the defense budget and purchasing new F-16V jets, missiles and other equipment, she said.
However, no nation can defend regional security by itself, especially when the region’s stability is threatened by increasing militarization in the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait and the East China Sea, and by diplomatic coercion in other countries and corporations, she said, without naming perpetrators.
During last week’s historic visit to Taiwan by a Czech delegation, representatives from the Czech Republic, the EU, Japan and the US attended a forum on supply chain restructuring hosted by the American Institute in Taiwan, Tsai said, adding that Taiwan and the US had issued a declaration on 5G security.
Together, like-minded countries can safeguard their shared values of freedom, security, human rights and democracy, Tsai said.
“Security and economic development cannot be separated,” Tsai said. “A lack of economic integration among like-minded countries will only drive us to seek short-term solutions with those who do not share our values and beliefs.”
China’s nuclear submarines equipped with ballistic missiles in the South China Sea threaten the security of Taiwan, as well as the US, said Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), director of the Institute for National Defense and Security Research’s Division of National Defense Resources and Industries, on the sidelines of the forum.
The Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China published last week by the Pentagon highlighted China’s planned development of its nuclear arsenal over the next decade, which is why Tsai reiterated the importance of shared values and shared security needs, he said.
Asked if the US might build military facilities in Palau, as Palauan President Tommy Remengesau recommended to US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper during the US official’s visit late last month, Su said that the US might consider constructing radar systems for electronic reconnaissance.
The US’ air and naval forces remain its major deployment in the Indo-Pacific region, while it has besieged China from all sides without actually attacking, he said.
Asked how the outcome of the US presidential election would affect Taiwan’s national security, Su said that the US Republican and Democratic parties share similar vigilance about China’s expansionism.
As in previous US elections, “economic growth” remains the concern of most voters, while vaccines against COVID-19 would also be an important issue in this election, he added.
A video allegedly featuring retired general Kao An-kuo (高安國) calling on Taiwanese military officers to surrender to China and overthrow the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government has sparked outrage and calls for him to be charged with treason. The video, titled “A message to Taiwanese military officers,” allegedly shows Kao saying: “I call on commanding officers of our military troops to stand up for Chinese nationalism, to take up this duty under heaven’s mandate to save Taiwanese from oppression and terrible suffering.” Dressed in military fatigues and a beret, the lieutenant general called on officers to overthrow the “fraudulent DPP regime,”
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