Taiwan counts on alliance of countries in face of Chinese threat

2019-07-13 10:38 update: 2019-07-13, 10:40
Joseph Wu Photo PAP/EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO
Joseph Wu Photo PAP/EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO
We hope for the setting up of an alliance of countries sharing similar values as Taiwan to protect it and global democracy in the face of the threat from China, Foreign Minister of Taiwan Joseph Wu has told PAP. He suggested that Beijing's actions may destroy democracy on the island.

The communist People's Republic of China recognises democratically governed Taiwan as a rebellious province of 'One China' and has never ruled out the possibility of taking control over it with the use of force.

Wu stressed that according to opinion polls conducted in Taiwan, most of the island's inhabitants support maintaining the status quo in relations with mainland China, and only a small minority is in favour of unification. However, Taiwanese democracy may be threatened by the actions by the Chinese authorities, Wu said.

If they state that force should be used against Taiwan, than Taiwanese democracy can be destroyed by the Chinese. If the Chinese authorities continue to use their technology, their financial resources and other resources to infiltrate Taiwan and destabilise Taiwanese democratic procedures, Taiwanese democracy can also be destroyed or eroded by China's actions, said the head of Taiwanese diplomacy.

Wu continued to say: I keep repeating all the time - we hope that the international community sees this situation and will cooperate with Taiwan for the good of democracy, that an alliance of like-minded countries will be formed to protect Taiwan and global democracy.

The minister said Taiwan's cooperation with the US was very successful, with weapons being the main proof. The US Department of State has recently approved the sale of 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks, 250 Stinger missiles and related equipment totalling USD 2.2 billion. The authorities in Beijing have opposed this transaction which, if it comes into effect, will be the largest delivery of weapons from the US to Taiwan during the Donald Trump presidency.

Minister Joseph Wu stated that currently it is not possible for Taiwan to buy American F-35 fighters but that talks are under way regarding the purchase of F-16 jets. Although we are trying to rely on our own strength to defend Taiwan, in case of a conflict between both sides of the Taiwanese Strait, we are sure and we know that the US will continue to support Taiwan in this sphere, said the minister.

The President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, left for the United States on Thursday, where she will spend a total of four nights during a trip to the Caribbean countries that have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Beijing demanded from the US not to allow her to transit through its territory.

Wu stressed that Taiwan is a very good partner of the American free and open Indo-Pacific strategy which, as the minister explained, is based on three pillars. The first of these are professed values, such as trust in freedom, democracy and protection of human rights. The second pillar is economic prosperity in the region, promotion of economic freedom and investment, and the third - security, not only military, but also related to natural disasters, maritime safety, security in respect to disinformation and political infiltration, as well as cyber security.

In 2020, Taiwan will hold parliamentary and presidential elections in which the ruling pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will face the opposition Nationalist Party (Kuomintang - KMT), which favours rapprochement with China. In the 2018 local elections, the DPP suffered a severe defeat, losing a number of important positions to KMT in cities and regions.

Taiwanese authorities have accused Beijing of attempting to influence the 2018 elections, among others, by waging disinformation campaigns on the internet and through financing of candidates with a positive attitude towards China. In May, President Tsai assessed that China has intensified its attempts to infiltrate and exert influence on the island, among others, in connection with elections. (PAP)