The threat from China is “very serious,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) warned in an interview with French television on Friday.
“If you look at the level of their military exercises around Taiwan, either in the air or on the surface, or their missile capabilities, [the Chinese military] is being improved tremendously in the [past] few years,” Wu said during an interview with France24. “They also openly talked about invading Taiwan.”
Last year alone, there were more than 900 sorties by Chinese military aircraft, which is threatening to Taiwanese, he said.
Photo copied by Yang Cheng-yu, Taipei Times
“We just have to be prepared, whether they are going to attack Taiwan next year, in two years or in 10 years,” whether it is an all-out invasion or a military skirmish within Taiwan’s territory, he said.
Asked if the US would go to war with China to defend Taiwan, Wu said that “it is a question for the US to consider whether Taiwan is valuable enough for them to intervene.”
“We have the responsibility of defending ourselves. What we are asking for from the United States is that it continues to live up to its commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act,” he said.
The act stipulates that the US is committed to providing Taiwan with sufficient defensive armaments and helping Taiwan with military training, he added.
The US is working hard in this regard, while the level of Taiwan-US cooperation has been increasing, ranging from information exchanges, arms sales, personnel training and guidance on modernizing Taiwan’s reservist forces, Wu said.
Many foreign leaders and high-ranking officials have expressed concerns about security across the Taiwan Strait on more than 20 occasions, showing that maintaining peace and stability across the Strait has become a consensus of the international community, he said.
In other news, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned China for impeding Taiwanese officers’ participation in the Washington-based Naval Attaches Association, a non-governmental organization that serves as a platform for navy officers from different countries to interact.
The association rescinded an invitation for Taiwan to join the organization after China’s strong objections, although it last summer agreed to a membership request from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, the Financial Times reported on Friday.
The office appealed to the US Department of State for support, but was told that the US government could not help because the association is a private organization, the newspaper reported, citing officials in Taipei.
The incident again exposes China’s authoritarianism and its inclination to use coercive means to intervene in the operations of foreign non-governmental organizations, the ministry said in a statement.
Taiwanese diplomats in the US would continue to promote bilateral partnerships, it said, thanking the state department and the US Navy for lending moral support to Taiwan and assisting its efforts.
Taiwan has the right and is willing to participate in international affairs and deepen relations with different countries, it added.
The nation would continue to enhance official and unofficial relations with like-minded partners to defend freedom, democracy and human rights, it said.
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