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Taiwan must show resolution to defend itself against China: U.S. author

12/10/2023 02:41 PM
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Hong Kong-born American writer Hung Ho-fung (left) shares his thoughts during a book launch in Taipei on Saturday. CNA photo Dec. 9, 2023
Hong Kong-born American writer Hung Ho-fung (left) shares his thoughts during a book launch in Taipei on Saturday. CNA photo Dec. 9, 2023

Taipei, Dec. 10 (CNA) Hong Kong-born American writer Hung Ho-fung (孔誥烽) said at a book launch in Taipei on Saturday that if Taiwan wants to maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait, it must demonstrate its people's resolution to resist an invasion by China.

Hung, a professor of Political Economy in Johns Hopkins University's Sociology Department, was launching the Chinese version of his new book titled "Clash of Empires: From 'Chimerica' to the 'New Cold War,'" which delves into the relationship between the United States and China in the 1990s and the origins and key reasons behind the transformation of the U.S.-China relationship into confrontation and competition since 2020.

At the book launch in Taipei, Hung said he believes that the deterioration of China-U.S. relations occurred not because of ideological differences or different political systems but mainly due to the changes in the economies of the two countries, particularly the impact suffered by U.S. companies during China's economic slowdown.

In the book's preface, Hung said small countries can stand firm and strengthen themselves amid the competition among great powers for global hegemony.

Speaking with CNA after the launch, he said East Asian countries such as Taiwan and South Korea play a pivotal role in the competition between the U.S. and China.

Small countries, therefore, need to have a proper understanding of the origins of the struggle between the two superpowers and learn how to deal with it, Huang said.

While many people believe that small nations are completely at the mercy of big countries and can only take sides, that is not so, he said.

Hong Kong-born American writer Hung Ho-fung. CNA photo Dec. 9, 2023
Hong Kong-born American writer Hung Ho-fung. CNA photo Dec. 9, 2023

As history has shown, when the hegemony struggle between great powers is at its most intense, that is the time for small countries to unleash their potential, exert influence on the overall situation, and maintain peace, Hung said.

However, it all depends on the choices made by the people of the small countries, he added.

In the case of Taiwan, the most relevant example might be Switzerland, a small, neutral country surrounded by military invading powers such as Germany and Russia and which was invaded at one time by France, Hung said.

Switzerland's "hedgehog strategy," which is intended to deter invasion and make the country "indigestible" to potential adversaries due to financial factors, has allowed it to maintain its independence and peace for hundreds of years, he said.

While there has been some discussion in Taiwan society about adopting a "hedgehog strategy," there are still some people who believe that peace can be achieved by begging Beijing for mercy, Hung said.

If Taiwan wants to maintain peace, it must show the other side that it is ready to resist, and it must indicate that its entire population is determined to resist, he said.

"If the other side believes that you have this resolution, they will not attack easily," and peace can be maintained, the writer said.

Taiwan's hope has been that the U.S. would come to its aid in the event of a war, but Taiwan is starting to realize that such an expectation is unrealistic, he said.

Rather than engaging in military intervention, the U.S. usually supports the people of an invaded country in a fight against its enemies, Hung said.

Furthermore, the U.S. may become embroiled in domestic chaos if Donald Trump of the Republican Party is elected president again next year, which may prompt China to move against Taiwan while the U.S. is distracted, he said.

Taiwan, therefore, should emulate countries such as Japan that have contingency plans in place in the event of domestic upheaval in the U.S., Hung suggested.

In any case, he said, the people of Taiwan should be prepared to resist an invasion, which would be their greatest guarantee of safety.

(By Chen Kai-yu and Evelyn Kao)

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