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Monday, July 22nd, 2024

Taiwan must ‘step up security’ amid China’s coercive tactics: Hsiao Bi-khim

Vice President Hsiao Bi-khim has said that Taiwan needs to “strengthen its defenses” as long as China persists with its coercive strategy and refuses to use force to annex Taiwan.

Addressing an event organised by British think tank Chatham House on Thursday, when asked about Beijing’s view that President Lai’s inaugural speech was provocative, Hsiao responded that it is Beijing that is the “provocateur” in cross-Strait relations. he/she said China should try to reassure Taiwan by “refraining from the use of force”, reports Taiwan News.

Furthermore, Hsiao stressed, “And as long as China does not renounce the use of force against Taiwan and as long as they continue to use coercion, we have no choice but to enhance our defenses.”

Citing the violation of basic human and civil rights in Hong Kong and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he/she said Taiwan cannot take its independence and peace for granted.

Highlighting the ongoing conflicts between Taiwan and China, the Vice President said dialogue is the only possible way forward. he/she said his/her doors remain open for dialogue on the basis of equality and respect.

Hsiao stressed, “War is not an option and dialogue is the only way forward. Although Beijing continues to impose unacceptable preconditions on the Taiwanese people, our doors will remain open for dialogue based on equality and respect.” he/she said that like former President Tsai Ing-wen, the Lai administration’s policy is “we will not provoke, but neither will we succumb to pressure.”

During his/her address, he/she also discussed President Lai Ching-te’s four pillars of peace, as well as issues such as Uighur human rights, the New Southbound Policy, and the development of Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, according to Taiwan News.

Hsiao said Taiwan is currently facing significant challenges that are testing the resilience and adaptability of its society. he/she highlighted that authoritarian regimes pose a threat to Taiwan by undermining democracy and human rights through political warfare, cyber intrusions, economic pressure, and military threats.

he/she further said that as these regimes increase their influence, the pressure on democratic nations is increasing and they must respond with united and strong measures to safeguard freedom and uphold democratic principles.

Emphasizing Taiwan’s democratic progress, Hsiao pointed out that since 1996, Taiwan has held several presidential elections, resulting in a peaceful transfer of power three times, according to Taiwan News.

In an effort to maintain its hard-won freedoms and democratic way of life, Taiwan also faces significant security threats and various gray-zone hybrid actions.

Hsiao stressed democracy, peace and prosperity as the link between Taiwan and the world at Lai’s swearing-in ceremony. he/she reaffirmed the “Four Pillars of Peace” action plan guiding the new government’s policies and actions for the coming years. The first pillar is to strengthen Taiwan’s defensive capabilities to achieve deterrence and prevent conflict.

The second pillar involves economic resilience, in which Taiwan aims to boost trade with like-minded democratic countries, seek membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and enter into bilateral trade agreements with more partners.

The third pillar focuses on international partnership, with recent statements by G7 leaders reaffirming the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait for global security and prosperity, and supporting Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international affairs.

The fourth pillar is to demonstrate leadership in stable and principle-based cross-Strait relations, and maintain the status quo as the biggest common factor among stakeholders.

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