Foreign minister: Taiwan vulnerable without US

Taiwan Foreign Minister Joesph Wu tells CNN's Matt Rivers that without continuing US military support, Taiwan would be vulnerable to an armed takeover from Beijing.

Posted: Jul 23, 2018 9:05 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2018 9:14 PM

Without continuing US military support, Taiwan would be vulnerable to an armed takeover from Beijing, the island's foreign minister told CNN in an exclusive interview.

Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told CNN the Taiwan government felt relations with the United States had grown stronger in recent years, but it was vital for Washington to continue to support Taipei militarily and diplomatically.

"(If) the Chinese see vulnerability of Taiwan not getting US support, then they would be thinking about starting scenarios where they would be able to take Taiwan over," he said.

Despite Taiwan being self-governed for almost seventy years, the mainland Chinese government continues to view the island as an integral part of its territory.

Beijing has been ramping up pressure on the Taiwan government since President Tsai Ing-wen's Democratic Progressive Party, which traditionally favored independence, took power in 2016.

The Chinese navy has been conducting the latest in a series of live-fire military drills in the Taiwan Strait from Wednesday until Monday, which an expert quoted in state media tabloid Global Times said was "tailored for Taiwan separatists."

Wu said the live-fire drills were part of a campaign to "intimidate the Taiwanese people."

"We are trying to maximize our cooperation with like-minded countries, try to engage security cooperation with the US to prevent China from thinking that they can take Taiwan over just overnight," he said.

Beijing provoking 'hatred'

Beijing has long dreamed of reuniting Taiwan with the Chinese mainland. In a nationalistic speech in March, President Xi Jinping described unification as "the aspiration of all Chinese people," while during a visit by US Secretary of Defense James Mattis in June, Xi said China would not give up "any inch of territory."

But Wu said China's actions against Taiwan were undermining any support for Xi's reunification efforts and turning public opinion against Beijing.

"They say they want to win the hearts and minds of Taiwanese people but what they're doing ... is to create hatred among the regular Taiwanese people of the Chinese government. It is pushing Taiwan further and further away," he said.

Early in the Trump administration there were questions over whether Taiwan would be used as a pawn between Washington and Beijing, given the latter's keen interest in returning the island to the fold.

But more than a year-and-a-half later, Wu said Taiwan is pleased with the growing closeness of Taiwan US relations under the Trump administration.

"President Trump maintains very good relations with Taiwan ... they told us that they believe Taiwan is not tradeable, and democracy is not tradeable," he said.

Asked whether President Tsai, leading the traditionally pro-independence DPP party, would push for Taiwan independence, Wu said Tsai was determined to maintain "the status quo" with its mainland neighbor.

"We want to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait ... By itself, Taiwan exists outside China, Taiwan exists by itself, so there's no need for Taiwan to go beyond what it is right now," he said.

Diplomatic battle

As part of their campaign of pressure, the Chinese government has been slowly chipping away at Taiwan's small number of remaining diplomatic allies around the world. In May, both the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso severed ties with Taipei in exchange for Beijing.

But despite their dwindling number of allies globally, Wu insists the Taiwan government is not preparing for a time when they no longer have any diplomatic partners.

"Some countries (who switched) are coming back to us and saying they didn't get what China promised, they didn't get what China promised financially and they're not getting what China promised politically," he said.

"What China gave them is something which is easily destroyable."

The most symbolic country which still recognizes Taipei over Beijing is the Vatican, the tiny nation home to the leadership of the Catholic Church.

In the past six months, rumors have leaked out suggesting the Holy See might be considering switching its allegiance to the Beijing government but Wu said Taiwan still hoped the Vatican could remain their diplomatic partner for the long term.

"We stay in very close contact with Vatican officials, telling them what they want is to allow freedom of religion to prevail in mainland China, and Taiwan has been serving as a beacon in that aspect," he said.

"Therefore maintaining good relations with Taiwan is the key to have Taiwan as an example to the Chinese people, especially Chinese Catholics, that they can have freedom of religion one day."

Terre Haute
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 38°
Robinson
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 35°
Indianapolis/Eagle Creek
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 35°
Paris
Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 35°
Mattoon/Charleston
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 37°
Terre Haute
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 38°
Terre Haute
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 38°
Scattered Showers
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

MARSHALL RED HILL

Image

BARR REEVE BLOOMFIELD

Image

WASH CATH VIN RIV

Image

NORTH DAVIESS SULLIVAN

Image

MT VERNON POSEY WASHINGTON

Image

DUGGER RIVERTON PARKE

Image

LINTON GBB STATE FINALS

Image

THN LAF JEFF

Image

Overnight: Scattered showers possible. Low: 40°

Image

A Farmer's Perspective

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1181144

Reported Deaths: 22607
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook4722069317
DuPage763981190
Will64655885
Lake59119918
Kane50439711
Winnebago28263436
Madison27835453
St. Clair25283463
McHenry24190263
Champaign18020123
Peoria16848260
Sangamon16072216
McLean14538156
Tazewell13458239
Rock Island13030286
Kankakee12438189
Kendall1098684
LaSalle10746218
Macon9417185
Vermilion8528114
DeKalb8226112
Adams7994114
Williamson6778119
Boone591271
Whiteside5907147
Clinton556389
Coles517090
Grundy508462
Knox5013131
Ogle498773
Jackson459460
Effingham448569
Macoupin434079
Henry431956
Marion4255111
Livingston416475
Franklin413965
Stephenson407875
Monroe405183
Jefferson3969115
Randolph395778
Woodford365260
Morgan357976
Montgomery347367
Lee334243
Logan330453
Christian329466
Bureau329173
Fayette306552
Perry303357
Fulton284044
Iroquois276660
Jersey248946
Douglas242632
McDonough231440
Lawrence228824
Saline228447
Union218436
Shelby213034
Crawford200321
Bond190224
Cass187822
Pike168750
Clark168029
Hancock166729
Wayne166748
Warren166443
Richland163438
Jo Daviess160522
White160125
Washington157823
Ford157045
Carroll156934
Edgar154037
Moultrie148722
Clay142641
Greene137631
Johnson134712
Piatt131814
Wabash129812
De Witt127722
Mercer127632
Mason127541
Massac125832
Cumberland118618
Jasper110517
Menard10348
Marshall83414
Hamilton78315
Schuyler6755
Pulaski6705
Brown6606
Stark53722
Edwards52310
Henderson49814
Calhoun4782
Scott4481
Alexander4478
Gallatin4364
Putnam4133
Hardin34412
Pope2823
Out of IL00
Unassigned02201

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 659127

Reported Deaths: 12494
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion903271628
Lake48239872
Allen35663632
Hamilton31929395
St. Joseph29721510
Elkhart25306412
Vanderburgh21173377
Tippecanoe19873199
Johnson16290355
Porter15896268
Hendricks15765300
Clark11885179
Madison11704315
Vigo11538229
Monroe10285159
Delaware9815178
LaPorte9732195
Howard9030195
Kosciusko8529108
Bartholomew7412147
Hancock7392128
Warrick7389147
Floyd7172165
Wayne6616189
Grant6411157
Morgan6054124
Boone605388
Dubois5885111
Dearborn542366
Henry540792
Marshall5406104
Cass539699
Noble508176
Jackson463664
Shelby459390
Lawrence4165111
Gibson401081
Harrison397061
Clinton393753
Montgomery384283
DeKalb384078
Knox355784
Miami355663
Whitley347835
Huntington341276
Steuben337155
Wabash329776
Putnam327359
Ripley325661
Adams321549
Jasper314243
White296151
Jefferson293370
Daviess284696
Fayette270856
Decatur269788
Greene260679
Posey260131
Wells256574
Scott249649
LaGrange240570
Clay239744
Randolph225276
Spencer216630
Jennings214144
Washington209327
Sullivan202639
Fountain200942
Starke186950
Owen181853
Fulton177737
Jay177328
Carroll176118
Perry173035
Orange170750
Rush164322
Vermillion159541
Franklin158835
Tipton145841
Parke138415
Pike127432
Blackford120327
Pulaski106444
Newton96431
Brown94839
Benton91613
Crawford90413
Martin80014
Switzerland7527
Warren75212
Union66910
Ohio52911
Unassigned0429