Taiwan part of the solution to challenges in Indo-Pacific region: former NATO commander  

China's construction of artificial islands throughout the South China Sea and the militarization of those islands are the biggest challenge in the region 

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Former NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander James G. Stavridis speaks at the Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue on August 30 in Taipei (Teng Pei-ju/Taiwan News

Former NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander James G. Stavridis speaks at the Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue on August 30 in Taipei (Teng Pei-ju/Taiwan News

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Former Commander of the NATO’s Allied Command Operations James G. Stavridis said Thursday that regarding the challenges facing a peaceful and stable Indo-Pacific region, Taiwan is part of the solution. 

The former Supreme Allied Commander was invited to speak at the Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue that opened on Thursday morning in Taipei. The event was joined by Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Director of the American Institute in Taiwan Brent Christensen, several foreign representatives to Taiwan, as well as Taiwanese officials specializing in foreign affairs and national defense.

Speaking of the current challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region, Stavridis said the construction of artificial islands throughout the South China Sea by China and the militarization of those islands contribute to the biggest problem and have the highest potential for leading to conflict in the region.

“It does not mean we’re destined for a war at all. We can resolve this diplomatically, we must resolve this diplomatically,” said Stavridis, adding “but it will require a great deal of efforts from both sides.”

▶︎ Former NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander James G. Stavridis speaks at the Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue on August 30 in Taipei (Teng Pei-ju/Taiwan News)

Referring to Taiwan as “part of the solutions” to the challenges of the Indo-Pacific region, Stavridis suggested that Taiwan and the United States should cooperate in medical diplomacy and humanitarian operations, in addition to strengthening the economic partnership between the two nations. 

Stavridis also affirmed the importance of the relationship between Taiwan and Japan, calling it “part of the future of this region.”

Tabbing collective security efforts as imperative to ensure the region’s freedom, openness, and prosperity, Stavridis said friendly countries in the region and across the globe have to work together to resolve the South China Sea disputes, and even to remove the threat from North Korea’s nuclear program. 

“If we show a resolute face to that, over time, I do believe China will be more willing to negotiate, to have a diplomatic solution,” said Stavridis.