Fernando Prieto Arellano
Madrid, Oct 4 (EFE).- Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, Taiwan feels increasingly threatened by China, Moscow’s ally, because that’s what authoritarian countries do when they think it suits their interests, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Wednesday in an interview with EFE.
“When we see an authoritarian country, or autocracy, like Russia can launch a war against Ukraine unprovoked. People here in Taiwan understand that China may do that to Taiwan at some point and this is becoming more real than ever,” Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Wednesday in an interview with EFE.
In the interview, conducted online, Wu said that “on average we feel Taiwanis more threatened after February 24 last year.”
In this regard, he stressed that “if we look at Chinese military preparations”, it can be said that “the threat seems to be increasing.”
“We have been trying very hard to deal with the situation. We need to make sure that war doesn’t happen in this part of the world, especially that Taiwan would not be seen as a provocateur.”
Wu, who stressed that his country is trying to present itself to the international community as a “force for good in the world” through its policies, pointed out that in light of the growing Chinese threat, it is necessary to strengthen its defense measures.
Some examples are the increase of investments in this sector or the extension of the period of compulsory military service from four months to one year.
“We hope that China does not make any mistake. We hope China can look at the military strength of Taiwan so that they’ll know that they’ll meet with a very strong opposition coming from the Taiwan side if they launch a war against Taiwan,” he said.
The minister explained that they want to work more with partners like themselves, such as major European countries, the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan, so that “If they launch a war against Taiwan it’s not just Taiwan, it’ll be the rest of the world”
He also emphasized the important role of the AUKUS defense alliance (comprising Washington, Canberra, and London) as a deterrent and potential defense shield for his country and the Indo-Pacific region in the face of hypothetical aggression.
In Wu’s opinion, China’s intention is not only to threaten or eventually attack Taiwan, but its plans have a much broader perspective that includes gaining a foothold in various strategic places in the Indo-Pacific.
“The recent scenarios that we have seen is the Chinese provocations against the Phillipines,” the head of Taiwan’s diplomacy pointed out, noting that last April China signed a security agreement with the Solomon Islands, which are geographically far away from it, but which are right on Australia’s doorstep.
Wu also analyzed the peculiar situation of Taiwan in the field of international relations, as it is not a member of the UN and has diplomatic relations with only 14 states, but is an important financial, commercial and military partner of many more, especially among liberal democracies.
However, he also alluded to the loss of influence Taiwan has suffered, especially in some Latin American countries, which recently seem to be leaning towards China.
“We lost some of our diplomatic allies to China because China was able to use its financial resources or promises to some countries so that some countries think that they would gain more benefit out of recognizing China,” Wu said, adding that “What China is doing is to make empty promises and then they engage in corrupt practices as well.”
Wu also referred to the issue of semiconductors, of which Taiwanis the world’s leading producer, and the fierce competition it maintains with China to maintain that hegemony.
“Taiwan is a very important ecosystem of the semiconductor industry. And therefore, if China launches a war against Taiwanit will impact upon the rest of the world, no just because of the goods but because of the supply chain. And I think the world now gradually understands the world is going to suffer if China launches war against Taiwan,”said the head of Taiwanese diplomacy. EFE