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Ex-U.S. admiral meets with President Tsai in Taipei

02/02/2023 06:40 PM
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Retired United States Admiral Philip Davidson (left) shakes hands with President Tsai Ing-wen at the Presidential Office in Taipei Thursday. CNA photo Feb. 2, 2023
Retired United States Admiral Philip Davidson (left) shakes hands with President Tsai Ing-wen at the Presidential Office in Taipei Thursday. CNA photo Feb. 2, 2023

Taipei, Feb. 2 (CNA) Retired United States Admiral Philip Davidson, who is on a visit to Taiwan from Jan. 30- Feb. 4, met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in Taipei on Thursday.

Davidson, who warned of a potential Chinese attack against Taiwan by 2027 while serving as head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command from 2018 to 2021, is part of a delegation from the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), a Washington-based think tank.

According to a press statement from the Presidential Office, Davidson told Tsai that the delegation had productive discussions with Taiwan's government officials and think tank representatives over the past few days.

The former Pentagon official went on to say that both sides exchanged views about the range of actions Beijing has taken toward Taipei, while highlighting areas in which the U.S. and Taiwan can continue to strengthen their relationship, without elaborating.

Taiwan's foreign ministry said on Tuesday that the NBR delegation would meet with senior Taiwan officials from the National Security Council, the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Mainland Affairs Council.

Other members of the delegation include Tami Overby, senior advisor at the Albright Stonebridge Group; James L. Schoff, senior director of the "U.S.-Japan NEXT Alliance Initiative" at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA; and three NBR members, April A. Herlevi, Alison Szalwinski and Rachel Bernstein, the ministry said.

In her remarks, Tsai highlighted increasing military and trade exchanges between Taipei and Washington in recent years and said Taiwan "looks forward to closer cooperation with the U.S. on semiconductors, telecommunications security, science and technology."

The president also stressed that Taiwan's government would continue strengthening the country's self-defense capabilities in the face of authoritarian expansion in the Indo-Pacific.

She went on to stay that the government will extend the compulsory military service in Taiwan from four months to one year starting 2024 and roll out measures to strengthen troop training.

"We have the determination, the confidence and the ability to protect our homeland," she added.

During a previous stop in Japan prior to visiting Taiwan, Davidson told Japanese media that he still stands by his previous remarks that China might attempt an attack of Taiwan by 2027, a warning he first issued in 2021 when he was in office.

Many media described his remarks as predicting a Chinese "invasion" of Taiwan by 2027, but Davidson said in Japan that when he made the comment in 2021 at a Senate hearing, he was not asked about an invasion but about any potential conflict with Taiwan.

"What does that include? In my mind, that can be many lesser things than an all-out invasion. One of those would be the threats to outer islands, and I think it's a grave security concern of Taiwan's," he was quoted as saying by the Japan Times on Jan. 25.

(By Joseph Yeh and Teng Pei-ju)


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