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Taiwan needs U.S. military support to defend itself: official

2018/07/23 19:11:06

CNA file photo

Taipei, July 23 (CNA) Taiwan needs the United States' continuous support in the face of China's growing military threat or it will be vulnerable to being taken over by force by Beijing, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told CNN during an interview aired Monday.

Asked if the U.S.'s continuous military support for Taiwan would increase the potential risk of military confrontation with China, Wu told CNN that the reality is quite the opposite.

"What we are concerned about is that the U.S. does not support Taiwan anymore," he said.

"If the security ties between Taiwan and the U.S. are getting stronger and strengthening our ties, then that would become a barrier for the Chinese to think about future military scenarios against Taiwan," Wu said.

The comments came in the wake of a China Times report that the military's newly revised defense plan indicates that in the event of a conflict between Taiwan and China, the U.S. will not send troops to Taiwan.

Taiwan instead will ask the U.S. to provide intelligence to monitor the movements of enemy forces, said the report, which the Ministry of National Defense did not deny.

In the interview with CNN, Wu also noted the importance of the relationship with the U.S.

He said Taiwan was pleased that Taiwan-U.S. relations were growing closer under the Donald Trump administration, despite concerns raised by some Taiwanese who fear Taiwan will be used as a pawn between Washington and Beijing.

He stressed that Taiwan government has full faith in the cordial relationship.

"We (Taiwan and U.S.) both believe in the values that we share and they (U.S.) told us that they believe Taiwan is not tradeable, and democracy is not tradeable," he said.

"We feel very strongly that the Trump administration as a whole is deeply committed to Taiwan's security and its relationship with Taiwan," he added.

Wu was also asked about the mounting pressure Beijing has put on Taiwan, using military drills, aircraft fly-bys and vessels passing through the Taiwan Strait, since President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has traditionally favored independence, took power in 2016.

The foreign minister described such measures as counterproductive to Beijing's claim to win over Taiwanese hearts and minds.

"They (Beijing) say they want to win the hearts and minds of Taiwanese people but what they're doing ... is to create hatred among the regular Taiwanese people of the Chinese government. It is pushing Taiwan further and further away," he said.

Asked whether President Tsai would push for Taiwan independence, Wu said Tsai was determined to maintain "the status quo" with its mainland neighbor.

"We want to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait ... By itself, Taiwan exists outside China, Taiwan exists by itself, so there's no need for Taiwan to go beyond what it is right now," he said.

According to Taiwan's Foreign Ministry, CNN's half-hour interview with Wu was conducted on Monday morning and is scheduled to be aired at 8 p.m. Monday (Taiwan Time).

(By Joseph Yeh)