Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) in a speech at the Washington-based Brookings Institution on Monday emphasized Taiwan’s need for enhanced defense capabilities, while adding that the party has always been pro-US.
“If you want peace, you have to prepare for war. Self-defense is No. 1 for peace and stability,” Chu said.
He offered three defense priorities for a future KMT administration: boosting asymmetric combat capabilities, arms purchases for emergency responses and raising the reserve mobilization mechanism to the Cabinet level.
It is wrong to label the KMT as being pro-China, as it has always been pro-US, he said, adding that the KMT is dedicated to defending Taiwan and to talking to China.
Taiwan could help the West better understand China and be a model for its neighbor, Chu said.
“Taiwan can have democracy; why not China some day?” he said. “We have to wait for this to happen, but we need Taiwan as a model.”
Asked by reporters about the so-called “1992 consensus,” Chu said it is a “non-consensus consensus.”
He also drew from KMT Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia’s (夏立言) comment that if all things must be clarified, non-political cross-strait interaction would suffer.
Chu’s comments were a practical response to Washington’s concerns about Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities, National Policy Foundation associate research fellow Chieh Chung (揭仲) said.
Chu’s speech was direct, which is an excellent beginning for restarting dialogue between the KMT and Washington on national defense affairs, the stated purpose of his visit, Chieh said yesterday.
Some of Chu’s views are a departure from those held by the Democratic Progressive Party, which, if pursued, could help set the tone for potential meetings between the KMT and Washington on defense issues, Chieh said.
Chu told the think tank that the KMT’s stance on 2027 and the increased risk of a military confrontation is to “prepare for combat and strive to avoid war,” Chieh said, adding that Chu dismissed certain KMT stereotypes, while clarifying that it would prioritize asymmetrical warfare capabilities upon a return to power.
Mentioning 2030, Chu showed that the KMT is aware of the potential threat of 2027, while being aware that a Chinese landing could evolve into a new threat beyond 2027, Chieh said.
Chu’s view is more prescient than some Washington analysts who overemphasize the need for certain weapons systems, Chieh said, adding that Chu’s view is becoming the sovereign national defense policy of the Republic of China.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiao-kuang
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