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China too 'overwhelmed' by internal challenges to invade Taiwan: Tsai

11/30/2023 02:17 PM
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Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) China has its hands full with its current economic and political problems and is therefore unlikely to attempt an invasion of Taiwan soon, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said.

"I think the Chinese leadership, at this juncture, is overwhelmed by its internal challenges," Tsai said, in a pre-recorded interview for the New York Times' DealBook Summit. "My thought is that perhaps this is not the time for them to consider a major invasion of Taiwan."

Tsai, whose second and final term in office will end next May, said that aside from its internal issues, China has also been facing international pressure to avoid a military attack on Taiwan.

"The international community has made it loud and clear that war is not on option and that peace and stability is in everybody's interests," she said.

Source: New York Times Events

On the topic of Taiwan-U.S. relations, interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Tsai if she was worried that Washington's efforts to revive domestic semiconductor production would ultimately make its relationship with Taiwan "less valuable."

In response, Tsai said Taiwan has more value than just its semiconductor production, and she cited the example of the clusters of industries built around chip manufacturing.

"We're pretty confident that the capacity we have now, and the importance of our industry, cannot be replaced anywhere else," Tsai said.

Sorkin also pressed Tsai on what she thought the United States' real "policy in practice" would be in terms of defending Taiwan.

While the U.S. has historically maintained a policy of "strategic ambiguity" on the issue, President Joe Biden has said several times in recent years that U.S. forces would intervene in the event of a major Chinese attack on Taiwan.

Tsai replied that the people of Taiwan are grateful for the support of the U.S., but remain "resolute in our commitment to self-defense" and "clear-headed" about the fact that one is responsible for protecting one's homeland.

Regarding Taiwan's presidential elections on Jan. 13 to pick her successor, Tsai said China would try to influence the outcome, through actions such as military threats, economic coercion and media campaigns, as it has done in past Taiwan elections since 1996.

"Instead of wishing for the day when Beijing would give up on these tactics, we should rather focus on strengthening the resilience of our democracy," she said.

(By Wen Kuei-hsiang and Matthew Mazzetta)


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