February 1, 2023

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Taiwan requests the support of the West against China's hostile actions

Taiwan requests the support of the West against China’s hostile actions

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  • Chord Den Daas

    China Correspondent

  • Chord Den Daas

    China Correspondent

China’s global ambitions are increasingly being felt in Taiwan. The West must be fully prepared for China to go through with a military invasion of Taiwan. With this caveat comes Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu news hour. “Other countries can help us against hostile actions from China.”

Tomorrow people in Taiwan can go to the polls for the local elections. It mainly concerns domestic issues, but the strained relationship with China is never far away. Wu said, “Every time people go to the polls to vote, it is an affirmation that Taiwan is a democratic country. Taiwan is not under the jurisdiction of any other country.”

In times of heightened tensions with China, Wu says, it’s a good idea to make Taiwanese feel like they’re not alone. “We have good friends who support us. And we are seen by the international community as a shining example of political development for the rest of the countries in our region.” Earlier this week, Wu said Chinese interference was “not as prevalent” as it was in previous elections.

to defend

news hour He speaks with Wu about the consequences of the military pressure that China is increasingly building. The consequences will be felt by the rest of the world, too. This is about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Wu believes that China’s military exercises are similar to that invasion.

“Now people are wondering why we didn’t stop Russia in Crimea in 2014, because the war in Ukraine is now threatening Europe. This argument also applies in Taiwan. China is harassing Taiwan, threatening us, and trying to control Taiwan.”

He pulled out his boxing gloves. “From the mayor of Kyiv,” he says, about the former world boxing champion. “Thank you for supporting us.” He says he never needs them. “We hope that there will never be a war, but we will defend ourselves as the Ukrainians are doing now.”

Wu is also eyeing Hong Kong, where China has cracked down on separatist, foreign and subversive activities through a special “security law”. “The West, the Western democracies, have condemned and punished the Chinese. But that was not enough to prevent China from imposing its will on Hong Kong. Now there is no freedom there, nothing more.”

show force

Wu: “The whole world is now asking questions similar to those that followed the annexation of Crimea: Who is the next victim of China’s ambitious dream? Many people were already talking about Taiwan, which is why we couldn’t stop Hong Kong. China itself is now putting all the pressure on Taiwan and will eventually be more than just Taiwan.”

It indicates China’s ambitions within the region and beyond. The South China Sea, for example, but also further afield. “When you look at China’s actions and influence in Africa, in some parts of Europe, I think we should be concerned if Taiwan falls. Who will be next or what will happen after that?”

The show of force around Taiwan has increased dramatically of late, with Beijing using the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as an argument for large-scale military exercises.

Aircraft of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army feel it every day. Wu: “This year already more than 2,700 times in our air defense zone.” nearly three times higher than the 2021 figure. “China’s military preparations seem to be gaining momentum.”

Armed conflict will also have far-reaching consequences for the global economy. Taiwanese chip maker TSMC is doing something no other country can do.

He does not want to risk a timeline for a possible invasion. He was asked if he saw the doomsday scenario of an invasion that would happen in the next five years as “difficult to predict”. Party chairman and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke clearly at the recent CPC congress, where he was re-elected president: China is determined to reunite ‘dissident’ Taiwan, de facto independent for decades, with the mainland.

More dangerous

If China invades Taiwan, it will turn to the West for help. America can then join the battle. US President Joe Biden has already declared that the US military will defend Taiwan in the event of an invasion. “That’s very nice of Biden,” Wu says. “We work closely with the United States, but ultimately our defense is our own responsibility. We have the will and the ability to do it.”

Wu believes that the situation is now more serious due, among other things, to the fragile economic situation in China, caused by the lockdowns and dissatisfaction among the Chinese population about the crisis in China. real estate market. “If China has enough social problems, I think they may want to create an external crisis to divert domestic attention. And then Taiwan will be the first scapegoat.”

Wu, who is “for life” on China’s sanctions list (“a badge of honour”) because Beijing considers him a separatist, says the Taiwanese government is willing to talk to Beijing. “The door is wide open for discussion. But on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”

The vast majority of Taiwanese want to maintain the status quo. Wu: “This is also the position of the government. But if China uses or threatens to use military force, Taiwan will be very firm.”

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