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Ex-DPP, NSC heads urge president not to overly rely on U.S.

2018/03/18 18:07:28

Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良)

Taipei, March 18 (CNA) A former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman and an ex-National Security Council (NSC) chief called Sunday on the government not to rely overly on the United States and to distance itself from China.

Speaking during a seminar in Taipei on Taiwan's survival in the constantly changing Sino-U.S. relations, ex-DPP Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang (許信良) said the President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration has maintained close ties with the U.S. Donald Trump administration since she assumed office in May 2016.

However, cross-Taiwan Strait relations have remained strained since her inauguration, because her refusal to recognize the "1992 consensus" has reduced Beijing's willingness to engage with the Tsai government.

Hsu said China is Taiwan's biggest trading partner and Taiwan's main destination for outbound investment, with 40 percent of Taiwan's exports flowing to China, while only 10 percent goes to U.S.

"It is difficult for us to ignore such a huge market," he noted.

Taiwan cannot take sides between the two world superpowers. "We cannot give up either one of them, we have to gain our best interests from both China and the U.S.," he stressed.

Any ruling administration in Taiwan has the obligation and duty to break the ice and reopen official cross-strait dialogue, according to Hsu.

Echoing Hsu's view, Su Chi (蘇起), a former secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC) during the previous Kuomintang (KMT) administration, said no small countries in the world would lean toward the U.S. while distancing itself from China, as Taiwan is doing now.

"Why would Taiwan think the U.S. would sacrifice its own interests to protect Taiwan?" he asked.

China has been catching up to the U.S. on every front over the years, both economically and in military strength. Given the ongoing global rise of anti-democratic tendencies, it would not be smart for Taiwan to rely solely on the U.S., he said.

While maintaining close relations with U.S. and Japan, Taiwan should make sure cross-strait relations are also maintained, which is what the former KMT government did before, according to Su.

Taiwan should adopt a "hedging" strategy to maintain ties with Washington and Beijing at the same time, he said.

Hedging is the practice of taking a position in one market to offset and balance against the risk by assuming a position in a contrary or opposing market.

The half-day-seminar was organized by the Taiwan Research Foundation, a Taipei-based think tank.

(By Joseph Yeh)
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