Taiwan KMT presidential candidate to focus on preventing war: aide

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Han Kuo-yu (CNA photo)

Han Kuo-yu (CNA photo)

Han Kuo-yu's (韓國瑜) defense policy will focus on "preventing our adversary from making a decision to use force" if he is elected president, a defense advisor to the Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate said Monday in the United States.

The purpose of national defense is to "maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," and Han's focus will be on preventing China from deciding to use force against Taiwan and being a responsible partner for security in the Indo-Pacific, said Alexander Huang (黃介正), a defense and diplomatic affairs advisor to Han.

"We will never be a troublemaker in the region," he said.

Huang was discussing the national defense positions of Han and the KMT and Taiwan's security situation in a speech at the annual U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference, which is being held this year in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Assessing the security issues that have shaped Han's policy, Huang said "communication channels across the Taiwan Strait have been down for over three years now," and relations with China deteriorated further in 2019, mainly because of Chinese President Xi Jinping's unification formula and months-long protests in Hong Kong that began in June.

Several factors have also made the Taiwan Strait a "hot spot of military tension" and "a place of high risk in the next four years," he said.

These include an increase in frequency of Chinese military training exercises around Taiwan, China's decision to send fighter jets across the median line of the Taiwan Strait in March, and China's massive military parade in Tiananmen Square on Oct. 1.

The coming presidential election, therefore, is actually about whether to continue the state of non-communication with China and the potential risk of war in the Taiwan Strait, he said.

In addition to preventing war, Han's defense policy will be based on three other concepts: building sustainable war-fighting capabilities, the integration of national defense and economic development, and the enforcement of the highest standards of discipline and honor.

Huang also presented the 10 national defense priorities the KMT will implement should the party return to power in next January's presidential election.

These include enhancing Taiwan's overall defense concept, supporting an effective increase in the defense budget, and investing in Chinese-English bilingual education in military academies.

The KMT and Han will "resolutely protect the common interests in the Indo-Pacific region and defend our country and security in the Taiwan Strait," Huang said in summing up their policy goals.

The Taiwanese delegation that attended the 18th edition of the conference also included four other KMT representatives -- Legislators Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) and Hsu Yu-jen (許毓仁), former Vice Defense Minister Chen Yeong-kang (陳永康), and former Air Force Academy Principal Tien Tsai-mai (田在勱).

At a press conference after the event ended, Chiang said the delegation held a closed-door meeting with U.S. defense officials and AIT Chairman James Moriarty to communicate Han's views on defense purchases from the U.S.

Besides attending the conference, the group will also meet with think tanks in the United States with an aim to increase U.S. understanding of the policies of Han and the KMT, according to Huang.